|Washington (19-15) «||3||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||x||5||9||0|
Soriano converted his 12th save in 13 chances to end the Nationals' 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday to complete a two-game sweep of the AL champions.
Once Soriano retired Prince Fielder on a game-ending flyout to the center field warning track with a man on, Soriano was joined in his signature celebration -- untucking his jersey -- by several teammates.
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"I never thought I would be a guy to do it," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "But when you've got a teammate out there doing it, I think it's cool for the guys to join in. If that's his thing, great. He's not showing anybody up. It's just his style."
What does it represent to the team?
"No clue," LaRoche said.
Perhaps the gesture's an ode to a bullpen that helped the Nationals claim their first four-game winning streak of the year.
Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Soriano combined for shutout relief after Dan Haren nearly squandered a four-run lead. Washington's three relievers had identical lines, each giving up a hit and striking out a batter in an inning.
LaRoche singled in the first and second innings for his first consecutive multihit games this season, and Ryan Zimmerman, in a 2 for 14 slide coming in, had three hits.
Tigers pitcher Doug Fister (4-1) had an RBI single in the second off Haren (4-3), but the Nationals made it 5-1 in the bottom half on consecutive run-scoring singles by Zimmerman and LaRoche.
LaRoche has eight hits in his last 14 at-bats, raising his average from .129 through May 1 to .196.
"I like where he's at," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said before the game. "I think he's seeing the ball better. His timing's coming around."
Haren allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings, giving up a three-run homer in the sixth to Matt Tuiasosopo. That was the Tigers' first home run by a pinch hitter since Ryan Rayburn at the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 14, 2011.
Haren said he wasn't at his best Thursday, which was especially disconcerting facing the Tigers powerful lineup.
"That lineup is ridiculous," Haren said.
Fister gave up five runs, eight hits and four walks in three innings, his first loss since Game 2 of the World Series at San Francisco last October. He was removed for a pinch hitter in the fourth. It was his shortest career start other than an outing at Cleveland in August 2011 when he was taken out after two innings because of a lengthy rain delay.
"He wasn't sharp," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You could see that. He wasn't brutal by any means, but he just wasn't sharp. His curveball wasn't good like it normally is. Just one of those things."
Fister drove in a run with his first hit since June 26, 2011, for Seattle. It was the first RBI by a Tigers pitcher since Rick Porcello had two on June 12, 2009.
Detroit had entered with nine wins in 10 games only to get swept for the first time since losing three games at the Los Angeles Angels from April 19-21. Omar Infante had three hits for the Tigers.
|Rafael Soriano closes it out for the Nationals, who nearly lose a four-run lead to the defending AL champion Tigers. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Austin Jackson, CF||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.282|
|Torii Hunter, RF||5||0||0||0||0||0||1||.344|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||5||0||2||0||0||1||1||.382|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||5||0||1||0||0||0||3||.300|
|Andy Dirks, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.235|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||3||2||2||0||1||0||0||.317|
|Alex Avila, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.189|
|Omar Infante, 2B||4||1||3||0||0||1||1||.304|
|Doug Fister, P||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||1.000|
|a- Victor Martinez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.217|
|Darin Downs, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Matt Tuiasosopo, PH||1||1||1||3||0||0||0||.343|
|Luke Putkonen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Drew Smyly, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Don Kelly, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.179|
|Jose Valverde, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Fister in the 4th|
|b-homered for Downs in the 6th|
|c-flied out for Smyly in the 8th|
|2B - Austin Jackson (7, Haren)|
|HR - Matt Tuiasosopo (2, Haren)|
|RBI - Doug Fister (1), Matt Tuiasosopo 3 (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Doug Fister (1), Matt Tuiasosopo 3 (8)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|E - Austin Jackson (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Doug Fister (L,4-1)||3||8||5||4||1||4||0||3.14|
|HBP - Span (by Doug Fister)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Doug Fister 74-50, Darin Downs 24-16, Luke Putkonen 6-2, Drew Smyly 25-17, Jose Valverde 7-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Fister 2-3, Darin Downs 1-2, Luke Putkonen 1-0, Drew Smyly 1-2, Jose Valverde 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Doug Fister 19, Darin Downs 6, Luke Putkonen 2, Drew Smyly 6, Jose Valverde 3|
|Denard Span, CF||3||2||1||0||0||0||2||.287|
|Roger Bernadina, LF||2||1||1||0||1||1||0||.129|
|a- Tyler Moore, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.163|
|Bryce Harper, RF||4||1||0||1||0||2||2||.302|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||1||3||1||0||0||0||.239|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||2||1||.196|
|Ian Desmond, SS||4||0||1||1||0||0||3||.273|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.192|
|Wilson Ramos, C||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.256|
|Dan Haren, P||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.214|
|b- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Ryan Mattheus, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Drew Storen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Chad Tracy, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.147|
|Rafael Soriano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Bernadina in the 6th|
|b-hit a sacrifice bunt for Haren in the 6th|
|c-popped out for Storen in the 8th|
|2B - Denard Span (5, Fister)|
|SH - Stephen Lombardozzi (2)|
|RBI - Bryce Harper (21), Ryan Zimmerman (12), Adam LaRoche (10), Ian Desmond (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (5), Adam LaRoche (5)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Dan Haren (W,4-3)||6||9||4||4||1||3||1||5.17|
|Ryan Mattheus (H,3)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.77|
|Drew Storen (H,6)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||4.38|
|Rafael Soriano (S,12)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.25|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 94-62, Ryan Mattheus 15-10, Drew Storen 15-9, Rafael Soriano 17-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 4-11, Ryan Mattheus 2-0, Drew Storen 1-1, Rafael Soriano 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Dan Haren 28, Ryan Mattheus 4, Drew Storen 4, Rafael Soriano 4|
|Attendance - 28742|
|Game Time - 2:51|
|Temperature - 71|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Al Porter, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt|