Hunter, batting a brisk .405, was 2-for-4; teammate Prince Fielder also had two hits and drove in four runs, supporting the eight innings of work by Doug Fister (2-0), who allowed one earned run while scattering eight hits.
A regular starter since 1999, Hunter arrived in Detroit during the off-season after five seasons with the Angels.
Oddly enough, the Tigers, last season's AL champs, are chasing the Kansas City Royals, winners of four straight. Detroit trails KC by a game in the Central division.
He doesn't seem to be suffering from much of a sophomore slump, batting .417 with eight RBI, two of which he produced in Thursday's interleague, 7-4 win over the visiting White Sox.
Harper was on base four of the five times he went to the plate, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and two walks, scoring twice. The Nationals have won three straight, sweeping the Sox, but find themselves a game back of the Braves in the NL East, who have put together a six-game winning streak.
The Braves and Nationals open a three-game series in Washington beginning Friday at 7:05 pm EDT.