VIERA, Fla. — Rafael Soriano had an outing to forget.
The Detroit Tigers rallied for four runs off Washington's new closer in the seventh inning and beat the Nationals 5-1 on Monday.
Given a 1-0 lead, Soriano allowed five hits and a walk, retiring just two batters.
Torii Hunter led off with a single, and pinch-runner Tyler Collins advanced on a 400-foot flyout by Miguel Cabrera that stayed in the ballpark because of a stiff breeze blowing from right to left.
Collins then took third on a wild pitch and scored when Prince Fielder lined a soft single. Victor Martinez walked, Alex Avila singled in the go-ahead run, and Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago followed with RBI singles that chased Soriano.
“He threw me a fastball out on the middle of the plate,” Infante said. “I was thinking slider, and expecting one, so I was ready for the fastball.”
Soriano has an 11.57 ERA in five spring training appearances, allowing six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, throwing a hard sinker, gave up a leadoff single to Andy Dirks and then retired his next 18 batters.
“He had a good sinker and good slider,” Infante said. “We knew he threw a sinker, but today it was really moving.”
Zimmermann got 12 of his 18 outs on grounders.
“I had all four pitches working,” he said. “It was one of those days when you have everything working and you can throw anything anytime you want. They don’t come too often. It makes things a lot easier, and I was keeping everything in the bottom of the zone, and that’s why I got all those groundballs.”
Zimmermann threw only 67 pitches, then went to the bullpen for 20 more.
“The other guys needed to get some work in,” he said.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer gave up five hits in five innings, including Adam LaRoche’s home run in the fourth.
NOTE: Detroit manager Jim Leyland says there is “no way” he's going north with 15 pitchers to compensate for his lack of middle or long relievers. “We'll have somebody. We’ll be OK,” he said.