"My body feels good and the first couple starts in spring, that's what you want to make sure that you can control," Price said. "I just have to execute more. Throw more strikes, get ahead. Just another game. I'm getting in the swing of things."
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.
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: While the Tigers have their first split-squad set of the season Thursday, Justin Verlander will be staying in Lakeland, Fla., for his second start of the spring. He'll face the Phillies in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Joker Marchant Stadium, where Bruce Rondon is expected to make his first game appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. Jerome Williams is scheduled to start for Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Drew VerHagen will be starting on the road against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., also a 1:05 p.m. start. Dan Straily is scheduled to start for Houston. That game will be available on Gameday Audio.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com 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.