Hunter's four hits lead victorious outburst
Castellanos 3-for-4 with two RBIs as Tigers swat 22 hits; Porcello allows five runs
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Torii Hunter's 4-for-4 performance spearheaded a 22-hit onslaught of singles and doubles from the Tigers, who scored nine runs over the third and fourth innings en route to a 12-6 win over the Nationals on Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The hit parade ranged from Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos doubling off the left-field wall to Rajai Davis turning a blooper to right field into two bases. The collective effort marked the second time in five days the Tigers put up double digits in runs.
It was an impressive amount of work considering how well Nationals starter Taylor Jordan held down Detroit's lineup the first time through the order. Jordan, once rumored to be a Tigers target during offseason trade talk before the Tigers acquired Robbie Ray in the Doug Fister trade, held Detroit to a Hunter single and a Castellanos double over two shutout innings before Detroit broke out against him in the third.
Hunter, Victor Martinez, Jackson and Castellanos all had RBI hits in the third off Jordan, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead, before five consecutive one-out hits broke open the game in the fourth. That included Hunter's line-drive RBI double into the right-field corner off Luis Ayala, plus Davis' RBI single off Zach Jackson.
Hunter's fourth hit came in the fifth inning with a line drive to left-center. After Miguel Cabrera singled him over to second base, Hunter swiped third in a double-steal with pinch-runner Steve Lombardozzi, who has been part of three double-steals this year.
"Torii ran the bases great today," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Not even talking about the stolen base, he read that a throw from the outfielder was going to miss the cutoff man and took the extra base and put himself in scoring position. That's what we're talking about. I like the mentality of the baserunning that I've seen."
Jordan gave up four runs on seven hits over three innings. Ayala yielded five runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning. The collective support was more than enough for Rick Porcello, who gave up five runs on seven hits over four-plus innings.
Porcello gave up a Nate McLouth RBI double in the first inning before Tyler Moore turned on a high sinker for a two-run homer in the fourth. Porcello sat down for close to 45 minutes during the Tigers' fourth-inning rally before giving up back-to-back hits in the fifth,including a Jamey Carroll RBI triple.
Phil Coke limited the damage by retiring the top of the Nationals' lineup in order from there before Scott Hairston homered off Al Alburquerque in the sixth.
Up next: Max Scherzer tries to continue his dominant spring opposite childhood teammate Lucas Harrell, while the Tigers conclude their three-game homestand with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Astros on Saturday at Joker Marchant Stadium, live on Gameday Audio. Scherzer has tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings and allowed three hits over his last two outings, walking one and striking out eight. Blaine Hardy, Luke Putkonen, Ian Krol and Jhan Marinez are also slated to pitch for Detroit. Harrell will make the start for the Astros.