DETROIT - The Nationals had a chance to do some major damage off Justin Verlander in the top of the first when they loaded the bases with no outs.
They got one run, but largely let Verlander off the hook. After Jayson Werth’s sacrifice fly brought in Denard Span, Adam LaRoche struck out and Ian Desmond grounded out to end the inning.
If you had a feeling at that point that the Nats would end up kicking themselves for not capitalizing further, you’re probably not alone.
In the second, the Tigers jumped all over Gio Gonzalez, notching five hits, two of which left the yard.
Victor Martinez led off with a single to left. Jhonny Peralta followed with a double off the wall in left. After a Hernan Perez strikeout, Ramon Santiago grounded a ball toward the third base bag, but Anthony Rendon couldn’t handle it or knock it down.
It was a tough play, but one that Rendon will probably say he should have made or at least kept in front of him. Instead, two runs scored on what was ruled a double.
The next Tigers batter, Alex Avila, picked right up where he left off last night, crushing a two-run homer to left. Avila now has six RBIs in these two games after his grand slam yesterday.
Two batters after that, Torii Hunter homered to left. Rendon followed that with a throwing error on a routine grounder by Matt Tuiasosopo, his 12th error of the season.
Gonzalez ended up getting out of the inning after that, striking Prince Fielder out looking, but the Tigers had already done plenty of damage.
The Nats entered this two-game series riding a three-game winning streak and hoping to continue moving in the right direction.
That sure hasn’t happened so far in Detroit.
LaRoche is in a 3-for-32 slump. Rendon is in a 3-for-41 slump.
It just keeps getting worse for this Nats team.
Update: Gonzalez allowed five more hits and five more runs in the fourth, and he was mercifully pulled from the game by Davey Johnson after going just 3 1/3 innings.
Ross Ohlendorf came on to replace Gonzalez but only threw 11 pitches before he was pulled with an apparent injury. Ohlendorf allowed a lineout to center, an RBI single and fell behind Santiago 2-0, but the results weren’t the issue. The right-hander spiked a few pitches and his fastball was topping out at 86 mph on the radar gun.
Ohlendorf has been one of the few bright spots for the Nats this season, coming up from Triple-A, showing off new windup and a fastball that got up to 97 mph, and pitching to a 1.87 ERA.
He threw 114 pitches in a start against the Mets on Friday, when he allowed just one run over seven strong innings. Now, he leaves with the score 10-1 Detroit in the fourth. Craig Stammen will come in for the Nats.
Update II: Here’s the final line on Gonzalez: 3 1/3 IP, 11 H, 10 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HR, 77 pitches, 46 strikes.
It gets worse.
Update III: The Tigers lead is now 11-1 in the eighth, after Hunter’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh brought in Santiago to bring the Detroit edge to 10 runs.
Bryce Harper is out of the game as we go to the bottom of the eighth, with Roger Bernadina coming on to play left.
Harper winced in obvious discomfort after swinging and missing at an offspeed pitch in the seventh. Johnson and trainer Lee Kuntz came out to talk to Harper, and while he stayed in the game to finish the at-bat, he struck out two pitches later and was pulled an inning later.
Not much has gone right for the Nats here in Detroit these last two days.