LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brennan Boesch moved into a tie for the Grapefruit League lead with his sixth home run of the spring, but Steve Lombardozzi's three hits paced a scrappy effort for a Nationals split squad in a 5-3 win over the Tigers on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Tigers' lone night game at home this spring was set up for broadcast back to Michigan. The fans up north saw another power display from Boesch, whose third home run in four days was a no-doubt drive into the visiting bullpen beyond right-center field off Nationals starter Mitch Atkins.
Boesch's homer scored Andy Dirks and Ryan Raburn and accounted for all of the Tigers' runs off Atkins, who lasted five innings with four hits allowed while striking out six.
Boesch said he found his swing about two weeks ago, and he has been spending the last part of camp focusing on his approach.
"For me, it's about getting to Detroit as quick as I can," Boesch said.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer had a scoreless outing going in his sixth start of the spring until Lombardozzi's third hit and Chad Tracy's second drove in a run apiece. Once Josh Johnson singled in Corey Brown in the sixth, Washington had a tie game and Scherzer was done, having allowed 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Xavier Paul drove in the go-ahead runs with a two-run single in the eighth.
Dirks had two singles to stretch his spring average to .422 and further strengthen his case for the final outfield spot on the Tigers' 25-man roster.
Up next: Miguel Cabrera is scheduled to return to third base Friday for the first time since taking a high hopper to his right eye a week and a half ago. He'll man the hot corner as the Tigers visit the Orioles for a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Duane Below is scheduled to start in what should be his final audition for the fifth-starter spot, now a two-man competition between him and prospect Drew Smyly.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.