Those two will finally meet when it counts Tuesday night.
Strasburg's spring debut with the Nationals on March 9, 2010 against Detroit drew plenty of attention. He yielded two hits in two scoreless innings, striking out Cabrera with a high-90s fastball and drawing praise from the Tigers slugger and Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
Strasburg (5-8, 2.85 ERA) will pitch to the reigning AL MVP for the first time in interleague play. He is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA in eight career outings against the AL.
Both Strasburg and Cabrera endured frustrating efforts in their last games.
The Nationals right-hander was charged with last Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh despite yielding one run and two hits in eight innings with a season-high 12 strikeouts. Afterward, he emphatically stated that the defending NL East champions needed to start turning their season around.
Washington (52-54) has responded with a 4-1 stretch, winning 14-1 over the New York Mets on Sunday."This is definitely what we envisioned coming out of spring training," outfielder Denard Span said. "Being able to score runs like this and put a lot of pressure on the other teams' (pitching)."
Cabrera, meanwhile, was ejected by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild for arguing a strike call in the third inning of Sunday's 12-4 win over Philadelphia. Leyland was also tossed."I said the call was horrible and he threw me out," Cabrera said. "I think it's not time to blame anybody - to blame the umpires, to blame somebody else. You want to compete and you want to do something special and try to win games. I'm kind of upset at how he threw me out, but that happens."
Detroit (59-45) outscored the Phillies 24-5 in a three-game sweep to improve to 6-2 against the NL East, but both defeats came at Washington on May 8 and 9.
The Tigers have won seven straight and 12 of 14 at home versus the NL East.
The Nationals' five-game surge following a season-high six-game losing streak has coincided with Ryan Zimmerman going 10 for 21. He was 3 for 4 to lead a season-high 18-hit attack Sunday."I think we all know what this group is capable of and what kind of people we have in here," he said. "That's one of the biggest strengths of this team is not worrying about things that happen, good or bad."
Washington looks to defeat Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 2.68) for the second time after he allowed three runs over six innings in a 3-1 loss May 8.
The right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA in seven home starts.
While Zimmerman is a .222 hitter against Sanchez, Jayson Werth - who missed the first series between these clubs with a strained right hamstring - is worse at 5 for 30 with 19 strikeouts. No player has fanned more versus Sanchez.
The Tigers bolstered their bullpen Monday by acquiring right-hander Jose Veras from Houston for minor league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named.
|July 24, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Blister|
|July 24, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|July 04, 2013||Ross Detwiler||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 23, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Left game - left groin strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 25, 2013||Torii Hunter||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left Achilles|
|July 23, 2013||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Strained left hip flexor|
|July 14, 2013||Justin Verlander||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right quadriceps tightness|
|July 07, 2013||Darin Downs||15-Day DL||Left rotator cuff tendinitis|
|July 04, 2013||Omar Infante||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|July 03, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shin|
DETROIT (AP) -- Alex Avila took advantage of a rare mistake from Stephen Strasburg .
Avila hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the sixth inning on a Strasburg fastball right over the plate, lifting the Detroit Tigers to a 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
"When you're facing a guy like Strasburg, you may get one pitch all game to do something," Avila said.
Anibal Sanchez (9-7) gave up one run, five hits and two walks over seven innings for Detroit. Jose Veras , a day after being acquired from Houston, was perfect in the eighth in his Tigers debut. Joaquin Benoit , who will keep his job as the team's closer, gave up one hit in the ninth inning.
Sanchez, who has given up two earned runs combined in his last three starts, isn't ready to say he's in a groove.
"I need to keep working on my command," he said. "My first pitch for a strike is not there yet and I need that."
Strasburg (5-9) allowed five runs, six hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven innings. Strasburg is winless in his last four starts and has given up at least four earned runs in three of his last five outings.
"I thought he pitched great," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He just made one mistake and Avila crushed it. Until that inning, the way he was cruising, I thought we might get nine innings out of him."
The AL Central-leading Tigers have won four straight and eight of nine to move 15 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Washington started strong, scoring a run on three hits in the first against Sanchez. Bryce Harper led off with a triple and scored on Ryan Zimmerman 's single. Then, the Nationals couldn't get much else going offensively.
"We're not swinging the bats that badly, but we never seem to score for Stephen," Johnson said. "I can't explain that."
The Nationals have scored a combined total of nine runs in Strasburg's last four outings.
Miguel Cabrera faced Strasburg for the first time in the regular season with two outs and a runner on base in the first and he hit a 2-0 pitch sharply up the middle for a single, but was stranded when Victor Martinez hit an inning-ending flyout.
Cabrera later, trying to field a grounder in the fifth inning, appeared to aggravate the left hip injury that had recently knocked him out of the lineup, but he stayed in the game.
"It bothered him a little bit," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Andy Dirks hit a game-tying double in the fourth inning and if a fan, sitting in the front row along the third-base line, didn't field the ball with his glove, the Tigers might've gone ahead. Jhonny Peralta was sent back to third base after scoring, and Avila ended the inning with a flyout.
The catcher made up for the missed opportunity a few innings later, sending Strasburg's 2-1 pitch soaring deep into the right-field seats to give the a four-run lead.
"I pitched well, minus one pitch," Strasburg said. "That was supposed to be a fastball away, but it came back over the plate and he put a good swing on it."
NOTES: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said before the game that didn't anticipate making another trade before Wednesday's non-waiver deadline, but did in fact make a deal after the game. Detroit acquired IF Jose Iglesias from Boston for OF Avisail Garcia and RHP Brayan Villarreal , adding a much-needed option if Peralta is suspended as part of baseball's Biogenesis drug investigation. ... Johnson said he doesn't expect the Nationals to make a trade before the non-waiver deadline. ... Johnson said pitching coach Steve McCatty , a Detroit native, was still in a hospital, two days after he was taken there to treat an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. He is expected to be released Wednesday. "Just being really careful with him," Johnson said. Detroit RHP Justin Verlander (10-8) is scheduled to start against Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-3) on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale. ... The Nationals, who swept a two-game series against Detroit at home in May, fell to 0-4 at Comerica Park. ... Detroit had a grand slam in its last game with Peralta clearing the bases in a 12-4 win that finished off a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies .