Bill Ladson

Nats' bats erupt for Zimmermann in rout of Tigers

Nats' bats erupt for Zimmermann in rout of Tigers

VIERA, Fla. -- Wilmer Difo and Ryan Zimmerman collected two hits apiece and helped the Nationals down the Tigers, 9-2, at Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. The victory snapped the Nationals' three-game losing streak, while the Tigers lost their fourth game of the season.

Washington scored its first four runs in the first two innings off Tigers left-hander David Price. Difo led off the first with a double and then scored on a double by Zimmerman. Bryce Harper scored the Nats' second run on a groundout by Wilson Ramos. An inning later, Derrick Robinson scored on a triple by Difo, who was then plated on a double by Desmond.

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann started for the Nationals and allowed a run in 2 2/3 innings while striking out four batters. The lone run came in the top of the third inning, when Anthony Gose scored on a sacrifice by Rajai Davis.

"I was attacking, trying to get ahead with the fastball," Zimmermann said. "The last outing, I wasn't able to do that, but this one for the most part it was where I wanted it to be. Threw a couple good sliders, a 3-2 curveball that was good, and for the most part getting stronger and getting better."

With closer Drew Storen on the mound in the fourth, the Tigers cut the lead to two runs. Yoenis Cespedes scored on a sac fly by Jordan Lennerton.

But Washington broke it open by scoring five runs by the eighth inning. The first two came off right-hander Josh Zeid. Desmond scored on a double by Zimmerman, while Harper scored on a sac fly by Tyler Moore.

Two innings later, with right-hander Rafael Dolis on the mound, Drew Vettleson homered over the right-field wall to make it a five-run game.

The Nationals went yard again in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Matt Skole hit a two-run homer over the right-field wall.

Up next: The Nationals go to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to face the Mets on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to get the start before being scratched due to an ingrown toe nail on his big toe. A.J. Cole will take the hill in his place. Besides Cole, \Xavier Cedeno, Aaron Barrett and Casey Janssen are also expected to make an appearance against the Mets.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.