Nationals pitchers shut down Tigers for 5-2 victory

Detroit News

Washington, D.C. — There was a lot for right-hander Alex Faedo to like about his performance Saturday. But it’s going to take a minute before he can feel too awfully good about it.

“I think it’s one of those games where you look back at it and, like, ‘Damn, I feel like I probably should’ve won this game for the team,'” he said after going five innings in the Tigers’ 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. “There was a lot of pros and some cons to build off of. But it’s one you want to have back.”

It was his third start since he was called up from Triple-A Toledo and he was in attack mode from the jump. Armed with a lively four-seam fastball, he pounded the strike zone — 53 strikes out of 72 pitches. His fastball was sitting 94 mph and hitting 95 and 96 regularly, especially in the first four innings.

The spin rate on it was 111 rpms more than usual.

“His fastball’s got a little vert to it when he’s throwing it right and everything is synced up,” catcher Jake Rogers said, referencing the vertical break or ride Faedo was getting on his fastball. “When he’s like that it’s hard to hit. At the top or the bottom of the zone, it looks like it’s rising up.”

He was also commanding the pitch on both sides of the plate, especially inside to the six left-handed batters the Nationals had in their lineup. He ended up getting 10 called strikes with the four-seamer.

“I thought I felt pretty good mechanically,” Faedo said. “And when I’m synced up the fastball definitely comes out better. That’s something good to work off of. I think we did a good job. There’s a few pitches I have to execute better. But other than that, we had a great plan, I thought we threw it pretty good.

“Regardless, though, you’ve got to win the ballgame.”

BOX SCORE: Nationals 5, Tigers 2

Former Tiger Jeimer Candelario got in the way of that a little bit. Faedo had retired 11 straight before Candelario locked on to a 1-0 change-up and lined it into the right-field seats. It was his sixth homer.

“I got him on a change-up in the first at-bat,” Faedo said. “I didn’t think it was the worst but Jeimer put a good swing on it.”

Candelario added an RBI double in the eighth.

Things got away from Faedo in the fifth.

“He just lost his feel a little bit,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “He started to labor a little bit and he wasn’t locating where he wanted to. He’s always going to compete and battle. He got through five innings and kept us in the game. Pretty dominant early, pretty scattered late.”

Ildemaro Vargas singled and CJ Abrams doubled him to third. Both of those hits came on 93-mph fastballs. With two outs, leadoff hitter Lane Thomas lashed a slider into left field, scoring both runners.

“I just didn’t execute well,” Faedo said of the fifth. “Those guys are good hitters, they’re professional hitters and they took advantage of a couple of mistakes and they hit some decent pitches.”

The Tigers, meanwhile, couldn’t generate much offense against Nationals veteran left-hander Patrick Corbin. One good swing — a 401-foot, two-run, first-inning home run by Spencer Torkelson — was all they managed in six innings.

“Our approach was to get (his pitches) up,” Torkelson said. “If you can get him to throw everything up you can do damage. I was able to do damage. After that he started mixing sinkers, front-hip sinkers and throwing more off-speed than he usually does.

“He did a great job.”

The Tigers didn’t get a hit off a trio of Nationals relievers (Carl Edwards, Jr., Hunter Harvey and Kyle Finnegan).

Twitter: @cmccosky

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