It was the Nationals who took the early lead off right-hander Doug Fister in the second inning. Both Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond had RBI singles.
Fister allowed three runs -- just one earned -- over four innings while striking out seven. He now has a 1.00 ERA this spring.
The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the third inning off right-hander Edwin Jackson. Gerald Laird scored on a passed ball by catcher Jesus Flores, while Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Raburn had RBI hits.
Washington then tied the score at 3 in the bottom of the inning off Fister. Danny Espinosa scored on a single by Chad Tracy.
But the Tigers took a one-run lead in the fourth inning against Jackson before blowing it open in the next frame by scoring five runs against reliever Chad Durbin. Austin Jackson highlighted the scoring with an RBI single.
The Nationals made it a game in the bottom of the frame, when Jayson Werth hit a two-run double against Duane Below to make it 9-5.
Tyler Moore scored Washington's next run of the game in the bottom of the sixth by hitting his first Spring Training home run off Below.
The Tigers scored their 10th run of the game in the seventh, when Clete Thomas homered off Ryan Perry.
Up next: The Nationals have the day off on Monday, but they return to action on Tuesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., at 6:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth start of the spring. Strasburg has allowed eight runs in 9 2/3 innings.
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.