VIERA, Fla.- Ryan Raburn homered, had two hits and drove in three runs to lead the Tigers to a 6-3 win over the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium.
Edwin Jackson struggled in more than three innings. He gave up four runs with two earned, five hits, two walks, two strikeouts and allowed the Raburn homer, his fourth of the spring. Jackson threw 61 pitches, 34 for strikes.
Clete Thomas, Gerald Laird and Andy Dirks each drove in runs for the Tigers. Jackson was the victim of some bad luck in the first. After getting Austin Jackson to fly out, Dirks struck out. Thomas then hit a fly ball to left that Jason Michaels dropped. Instead of a three-up, three-down inning, Jackson faced Raburn who drilled a two-run homer to the left.
Jackson gave up single runs in the third and fourth. In the fourth, he walked the first two men of the inning in front of Laird’s RBI single.
“Errors happen, mistakes happen, that’s part of the game,” Jackson said. “I got out of sync in the fourth inning, but that’s what we’re here in Spring Training for … working out the kinks.”
Jackson had not allowed a run over six innings in his first two starts combined, and — although this game didn’t have the results the previous two did — he says he is right on schedule.
“It’s the best I have felt. The results were not necessarily the best, but in Spring Training, we get caught up in results,” he said. ” Spring Training is a time where you are getting ready for the season and that’s what we’re out there doing.”
He then added with a chuckle, ” I’m not going to go kill myself.”
Ryan Zimmerman had a sac fly and a double in the game and is now hitting .571 for the spring. Jayson Werth hit a solo homer to right in the sixth off the Tigers closer. Jose Valverde and Chad Tracy was responsible for the Nats third run on a sac fly.
Michaels, no excuses
Nats outfielder Jason Michaels, who dropped the fly ball off the bat of Clete Thomas in the first before the two-run homer by Ryan Raburn, offered no excuses for his error.
“I just flat out dropped it,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in my outfield and if I’m not doing it at the plate that day, I like to do it in the outfield.” In the end, “you just have to move on,” Michaels said.
Morse held back, Harper to play
Nationals left fielder Michael Morse was originally on the lineup card hitting in the cleanup spot as the designated hitter for the game Wednesday night against the Braves. After the game, Morse was not on the card, however.
Chad Tracy’s name was on the card in the sixth spot in the lineup as the DH, with Adam LaRoche moved to the cleanup spot and Jayson Werth hitting fifth.
Morse has been the DH the last two games and has been slowed by a strained right lat muscle which he had two cortisone shots for over the weekend.
Nats outfielder Bryce Harper will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Braves after missing the last seven games with a tight left calf muscle.
Manager Davey Johnson wanted to see Harper go through a full workout before he would put him back in the lineup. Harper has played in four exhibition games and his 5-for 11 hitting .455.
It comes once every five days and today Stephen Strasburg will take the mound against the Atlanta Braves in a 6:05 start from Disney. Strasburg is 0-2 so far this spring with an ERA of 6.35. He will oppose RHP Randall Delgado who is 0-1.