The Washington Nationals avoided a sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday night in a battle of the southpaws between left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels and Ross Detwiler. Long Story Short: It was most certainly Detwiler’s night.
Manager Davey Johnson was acting like a proud papa in the post-game press conference while explaining how proud he is of young Detwiler, who went on to pitch seven innings of three hit ball in the 3-0 Washington win. Detwiler’s seven innings of three hit ball combined with a line of two walks and three strike outs over 88 pitches (54 strikes) proved to be an efficient outing for the lefty.
But it woudn’t be a win without some run support, right?
First baseman Adam LaRoche went 3-for-4 against Hamels with a leadoff, first pitch homerun – his twentieth of the season – to right field to put the Nats on the board early in the second inning. According to Johnson, LaRoche has been the glue of the team this season and this game most certainly proved that to be true.
In nine season of playing Major League Baseball, LaRoche has hit 20 or more homeruns in seven of those. That statstic makes him the tenth Nationals hitter to reach 20 homeruns in a season. He is also one of the only Nationals players to have reached the 20 homerun plateau this early in the year by date, behind Alfonso Soriano (2006) and Adam Dunn (2009, 2010).
It’s worth it to mention as well that Thursday’s game was the first time all season that Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche, and Jayson Werth – whose first game back from the disabled list since breaking his wrist in May against the Phillies at home (in a game where Hamels pitched) – all held their respective spots in the lineup.
Werth went 1-for-4 having hit a a single in his first at-back back and drawing a walk off Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer in the eighth inning but did not contribute directly to the Nats 3-0 lead.
Besdies LaRoche’s solo shot in the second, the first baseman kept it up by hitting a RBI single to center field in the third inning sending Zimmerman around to score. That play was shortly followed by Morse reaching the plate on a Werth groundout.
The Nats bullpen got in two innings of work still, featuring work from lefty Sean Burnett and righty Tyler Clippard. Burnett looked a bit sharper than the night before and retired all three batters faced in the eighth before Clippard had a slightly shake ninth.
Clippard issued two walks in the ninth – including a leadoff walk to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley – allowing two Phillies to reach the base path. The good news: Clippard was quick to get out of it, the Nats won, and he recorded his 21 save of the season.