Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson had his roughest outing of the spring, though he was a victim of a misplay by his defense. With two outs in the first, Clete Thomas hit what looked like a routine fly ball to left fielder Jason Michaels, but Michaels dropped the ball to extend the inning.
The error would prove costly, as Raburn followed with a two-run homer to give the Tigers the early lead. Both runs were unearned for Jackson.
The Nationals would get a run back in the bottom off the inning off Tigers starter Duane Below, when Ian Desmond scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman.
It was all Tigers after that. In the third inning, Austin Jackson scored the third run of the game on a single by Thomas. An inning later, Gerald Laird drove in Jhonny Peralta with a single to right field to make it a 4-1 game.
Jackson then left the game in favor of Ross Detwiler, who allowed an RBI single to Raburn to make it a 5-1 game in favor of Detroit.
The Nationals would score two more runs to close the gap. In the sixth inning, Jayson Werth hit a solo homer off reliever Jose Valverde, while Stephen Lombardozzi scored on a sacrifice fly by Chad Tracy.
But the Tigers added another run in the top of the eighth inning off Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, as Quintin Berry scored on a triple by Andy Dirks.
Up next: The Nationals go to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to face the Braves for the second time this spring. The last time they met was on March 6 with the Nationals winning the game, 5-2. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make his second start for Washington in the 6:05 p.m. ET contest, which can be seen on MLB.TV and on the MLB Network. Bryce Harper is slated to return to the Nats' lineup and bat seventh.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.