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Nationals beat Tigers with walk-off home run

Posted: 10:52 PM, May 09, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-10 19:22:56Z

WASHINGTON -- Moments after Bryce Harper was ejected from the dugout, pinch hitter Clint Robinson hit a game-ending homer to give the Washington Nationals a 5-4 comeback victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

As he joined his teammates in racing to the plate to greet Robinson for a celebration, Harper yelled something in the direction of umpire Brian Knight.

Knight pointed toward the dugout and signaled Harper's ejection after the batter before Robinson, Danny Espinosa, was called out on strikes.

Then Robinson connected with a 1-0 pitch from Mark Lowe (1-2).

Shawn Kelley (1-0) got the victory with one pitch of work, retiring the only batter he faced in the ninth on an infield popup.

The Nationals ended their four-game losing streak and extended the Tigers' skid to seven consecutive losses.

Washington ace Stephen Strasburg got a no-decision on an evening when news emerged that he was going to skip his first chance at free agency, instead agreeing to a deal that will pay him $175 million from 2017-23.

J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos each hit a two-run homer off Strasburg, who was saluted with a standing ovation when he was pulled after walking the leadoff batter in the eighth -- presumably because folks in the announced crowd of 27,153 had heard word of his new contract.

This was not the fully dominant Strasburg who was 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA in 2016 entering Monday. He was merely terrific for stretches -- striking out 11, including six of seven batters in one stretch -- and otherwise only OK, allowing six hits.

Things did not begin well for Strasburg, who walked leadoff man Ian Kinsler on four pitches, and then served up Castellanos' sixth homer. In the fifth, Kinsler singled ahead of Martinez's shot into the visitors' bullpen beyond left field off a 96 mph fastball for his fourth homer and a 4-1 lead.

Daniel Murphy accounted for Washington's first three runs, with an RBI single in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth, all off Anibal Sanchez, who gave up four runs and six hits in six-plus innings.

Sanchez also was charged with an error when he failed to cleanly field Strasburg's sacrifice bunt in the seventh. That loaded the bases with no outs and set up Ben Revere's sacrifice fly off Kyle Ryan that tied it at 4.

Alex Wilson then struck out Anthony Rendon before intentionally walking Harper to bring up cleanup hitter Ryan Zimmerman with the bases full. Zimmerman popped out to first baseman Miguel Cabrera in foul territory, chucked his bat and dropped his red helmet.

QUESTIONABLE CALL

In the eighth inning, with the game tied 4-4, Brad Ausmus inserted Victor Martinez into the game as a pinch hitter. One problem: Dusty Baker intentionally walked Martinez because first base was unoccupied. 

The next batter, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, struck out to end the inning.

JZ RETURNS

Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who left Washington as a free agent in the offseason, said it "felt a little weird" to be a visitor at Nationals Park.

"To be honest, I thought I was going to be here my whole career," said Zimmermann, who was drafted by the Nationals, "and it just didn't work out."

He is scheduled to start Wednesday against right-hander Max Scherzer. Before Monday's first pitch, a video retrospective of Zimmermann's Nationals career was shown on the scoreboard, ending with the message: "Welcome back, Jordan!"

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (15-day DL) felt soreness in his right shoulder after playing center field at Triple-A Toledo on Saturday. He played as a designated hitter on Sunday and Monday. ... RHP Shane Green (on 15-day DL with a blister on his right middle finger) is not yet ready to begin a throwing program. "The skin's got to get toughened up," manager Brad Ausmus said. "You've got to get past that point where it's going to split again."

UP NEXT

A couple of first-round picks in the 2011 amateur draft face off Tuesday, when Nationals RHP Joe Ross (3-1, 1.23 ERA) goes against Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer (1-1, 6.30 ERA). Ross was taken 25th overall five years ago, while Fulmer was a supplemental pick at No. 44. Ross will be making the 19th start of his major league career; Fulmer his third.