LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tyler Moore homered twice to lead a middle-inning onslaught for the Nationals, but after Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez drove in two runs apiece in a six-run sixth inning and Matt Tuiasosopo homered for the third time in four days, it took an eighth-inning rally for Washington to salvage a 12-10 win over the Tigers Sunday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The offensive outburst made a distant memory of what had been a decent pitching duel between Drew Smyly and Ross Detwiler for three innings. Smyly struck out five of the first 12 hitters he faced before the Nationals started hitting him in the fourth. Detwiler recovered quickly from Torii Hunter's first-inning solo homer off the top of the left-field berm to toss four innings of three-hit ball.
Detwiler got back to work early after missing the past couple weeks to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Smyly, meanwhile, picked up his battle with Rick Porcello for the fifth spot in the Tigers' rotation and threw some solid offspeed pitches early before leaving pitches up in the zone the second time through the Washington order.
"They were hacking early. I left it up," Smyly said. "That's all there is to it."
Moore led off that inning with a drive down the left-field line before Chris Marrero and Danny Espinosa added RBI singles. An inning later, Moore followed Bryce Harper's double high off the center-field fence with a no-doubter into the Tigers' bullpen beyond right field off Duane Below.
Smyly's five runs allowed topped the damage he allowed over his first four starts this spring combined. He has allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits over 7 1/3 innings in his last two outings.
Most of the Tigers' sixth-inning comeback came off former teammate Ryan Perry, who gave up five runs on two hits with two walks and a hit batter after retiring the side in order in the fifth. Jeremy Accardo eventually quieted the damage in the sixth, but Ryan Mattheus walked Kevin Russo ahead of Tuiasosopo, who belted a pitch to left-center to make it a 9-8 Tigers lead.
That Detroit advantage dissipated in a wild eighth inning for setup man Al Alburquerque, who walked three and struck out two. The only ball he allowed in play was a game-tying single into shallow center field from Jhonatan Solano. Marrero greeted Darin Downs with a two-run single to put Washington ahead before Danny Worth's second error of the game on a force attempt allowed Carlos Maldonado to score.
Up next: Jordan Zimmermann, will start for the Nationals on Monday against the Tigers and Max Scherzer. It will be the fifth appearance of the spring for Zimmermann, who went 4 2/3 innings against the Mets on March 13, striking out six and allowing three runs on four hits. This will be the second of three games between the Nationals and Tigers in six days.