Hunter fuels Tigers' rout of Nationals
Detroit, MI – Torii Hunter led the way in a Detroit Tigers' offensive onslaught against the Washington Nationals.
Hunter finished a triple shy of the cycle while going 4-for-5 with three RBI in the Tigers' 11-1 rout at Comerica Park.
Alex Avila clubbed a two-run homer and Ramon Santiago plated a pair with a double for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who swept this two-game interleague set and have won five straight and nine of their last 10 games overall.
Detroit, playing without slugger Miguel Cabrera (abdominal strain), roughed up Washington starter Gio Gonzalez (7-4) to the tune of 10 runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings. Gonzalez had given up just 15 earned runs over a 10-start stretch since his last loss on May 27.
"This isn't going to dictate who I am as a pitcher," Gonzalez said of his poor outing. "I'm going to go out there and keep pitching how I pitch and try to get more wins for the team."
Justin Verlander (11-8) needed 103 pitches to get through six frames, but limited the Nationals to a first-inning run and four hits. However, he did walk five batters.
"Even though I was erratic, I was able to grind and battle," Verlander said. "It makes it a lot easier when your boys put up 10 or 11 runs for you."
With Verlander laboring on the mound, the Tigers put up five-spots in both the second and fourth innings to give their ace plenty of breathing room.
The bottom of the Detroit lineup did most of the damage in the second. Santiago, the No. 8 hitter, smacked a ball down the third-base line in front of Avila's opposite-field blast to left. Hunter took Gonzalez deep later in the inning.
The fourth inning began with a strikeout, but Gonzalez then walked Avila before allowing five straight singles, four of which scored a run, to end his outing. Hernan Perez added an RBI base hit off reliever Ross Ohlendorf, who departed during the next at-bat with an apparent injury.
Hunter doubled home Santiago in the seventh.
Despite loading the bases with no outs in the first, Washington came away with just a Jayson Werth sacrifice fly. The Nationals also had a runner in scoring position against Verlander in three straight innings from the third and failed to score.
Victor Martinez had three hits and one RBI for Detroit ... Verlander recorded six strikeouts ... Three relievers held the Nationals to one hit ... Washington's Denard Span went 2-for-3 with a walk ... Bryce Harper also had two hits for the Nationals ... The Tigers were 8-for-16 with runners in scoring position, while Washington finished 0-for-9.