- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DETROIT | Jim Leyland never believed that Ryan Raburn had forgotten how to hit.

On Tuesday night, Detroit got an indication that he was right.

Raburn, who came into the game hitting .165, had two hits and drove in four runs, including a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning as the Tigers went on to their fourth straight win, 7-4 over the Washington Nationals.

“Tonight was more like the Raburn we saw last year,” Leyland said. “He’s been pressing, but he had 16 homers last year, so we know he has some power.”

Raburn’s prolonged slump had caused him to lose his starting job to rookie Brennan Boesch. He was only in the lineup Tuesday because center fielder Austin Jackson was sidelined with back spasms, but he got a pregame tip from Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.

“Mac said he saw something — my hips have been flying out, and I needed to stay closed,” Raburn said. “We made a little adjustment and it felt great.”

Raburn drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning, then hit a leadoff single that started a two-run fourth to make it 4-all before hitting his first homer of the year in the next inning.

“That was huge,” he said. “It’s about time that I helped win us a game. I’ve been waiting to do that all year, and it felt great.”

Magglio Ordonez returned to the Detroit lineup and tied a career high with four hits. He had missed the Tigers’ previous six games with a strain in his side.

Max Scherzer (3-6) struck out nine in six innings. He allowed three earned runs and seven hits.

“It feels really good around here, because this four-game winning streak is what we needed to get back toward first place,” Scherzer said. “This has been at home, but usually when you do good things at home, they translate to the road.”

Jose Valverde picked up his 14th save with a scoreless ninth.

John Lannan (2-4) took the loss, giving up six earned runs in 4 1-3 innings. In his last two starts, Lannan has allowed 12 runs in nine innings.

“I just couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm, and that’s twice in a row now,” Lannan said. “I feel fine. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Washington manager Jim Riggleman didn’t think the two games had much in common.

“In his last start, Pittsburgh was able to lay off his good sinker and make him throw something else,” he said. “Tonight, he wasn’t getting anything to sink at all. That’s not something we see often from him.”

Nyjer Morgan manufactured the game’s first run. With one out in the Nationals first, he reached on a bunt single, stole second and continued to third on catcher Gerald Laird’s throwing error and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s sacrifice fly to shallow right field.

“All season, catchers have been making perfect throws whenever Nyjer runs, but he finally got a break tonight,” Riggleman said. “Laird can throw, and if he gets it on target, Nyjer’s out, but the ball gets away, and we get an extra base out of it.”

The Nationals got two more runs in the third on RBI singles by Josh Willingham and ex-Tiger Ivan Rodriguez.

The Tigers made it 3-2 in the bottom half when Miguel Cabrera beat the throw home on a grounder to first.

Mike Morse hit a leadoff homer in the Nationals fourth. Detroit tied it in its half of the fourth when Ordonez hit an RBI double and later scored on Carlos Guillen’s sacrifice fly.

Laird led off the fifth with a single and Danny Worth reached on second baseman Cristian Guzman’s error before Raburn’s first homer since October 4.

“I wasn’t rattled by the error — I was focused on getting us out of the inning,” Lannan said. “Instead, I made a terrible pitch.”

NOTES: The game was Washington’s first in Detroit since the franchise moved from Montreal. The Expos played their only series at Comerica Park in June of 2002. … Rodriguez, making his second appearance in Detroit since being traded in 2008, received loud cheers from the crowd of 24,821 during his first at-bat. … Jackson, who injured himself in the first inning of Sunday’s win over the Pirates, is day-to-day with the back problem.



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