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Recap: Tigers , Nationals
   BT Movements
Game: 1
Venue: Space Coast Stadium
Date: March 20, 2011 1:05 PM EDT
  

VIERA, Fla. (AP) - Justin Verlander arrived at siring training with little interest in what happens in March.

``My point this spring was to focus early on, treat this like April,' Verlander said. ``Instead of just worrying about my arm being ready, worry about pitch selection and doing all the little things.'

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That attitude is paying off.

Detroit's ace pitched six scoreless innings Sunday, leading the Tigers past the Washington Nationals 6-1 in a game in which Magglio Ordonez was scratched from the lineup because of a sore left hamstring.

Verlander allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one.

``I thought everything was working pretty well,' Verlander said. ``My fastball control was there. I thought I had the best braking ball of the spring so far, so that's a positive. And my changeup was really good.'

Well? He's been nearly perfect.

In five spring starts, Verlander has allowed just two runs in 21 innings for a 0.86 ERA.

Verlander has one more exhibition start remaining before pitching the Tigers' opener against the Yankees in New York on March 31.

Nationals starter Tom Gorzelanny went five innings, allowing a two-run homer to Don Kelly in the third inning. Gorzelanny gave up four hits overall and struck out three and walked two.

``It was a pretty good outing,' Gorzelanny said. ``There were times when I didn't feel comfortable, but I was able to fight back and make good pitches. I even thought the home run was a good pitch, he was just sitting on it.'

Kelly, who had two hits, replaced Ordonez in the lineup.

Matt Stairs hit a solo home run in the seventh inning for the Nationals. Alberto Gonzalez was 4 for 4 for Washington, with four singles.

The Nationals made four errors and lost their seventh consecutive game.

``We have to keep it in perspective and stay positive,' Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. ``We have to take the positive things out of the game that we see and hope that those are the things that we take into March 31st.'

NOTES: Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman sat for the fifth consecutive game with a strained left groin. He is day to day.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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