Nationals starting pitcher Ross Detwiler went into Saturday night’s game with a 2.63 ERA and came out of it with a 3.65. Long story short – Detwiler didn’t have a good night against the first place Baltimore Orioles.
As the newest member of Steve McCatty’s rotation, having landed the fifth spot just before the start of the season, Detwiler’s had a good couple months with Washington. The Orioles found a way around that with their bats, though, and that’s all it took to secure an early lead and eventual 6-5 victory over Washington.
Detwiler gave up nine hits, six runs – two of which were homeruns, while walking a batter and striking out three. It took the Nats offense five innings to warm up, as they fell behind in the second and third innings.
It took a couple of sacrifice bunts from Steve Tolleson and starting pitcher Jason Hammel to set it up, but the Orioles scored twice in the second. Center fielder Adam Jones followed that performance in the third inning with a two-run homer to left field on a 1-0 pitch.
The Orioles offense stayed hot enough to coax a couple more runs off Detwiler in the fifth when right fielder Adam Jones hit a two-run homer to right-center on a 1-1 pitch.
Up until the fifth inning, the Nats had only managed to get two base runners and had struck out four times. They could barely get the ball to the outfield, having just three fly outs through four innings.
A tiny spark turned up in the fifth when Nats outfielder Roger Bernadina, pinch hitter Tyler Moore, and the night’s lead-off man – Steve Lombardozzi (2-for-5), hit three consecutive singles from. Bernadina scored on Lombardozzi’s single but Bryce Harper (0-for-5, with two strikeouts) grounded out to end the potential rally.
The Nats kept the momentum going through the sixth inning, coming within two runs of the Orioles. They scored three runs after third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a lead-off double off Hammel. First baseman Adam LaRoche scored on a two out single from the Nats fourth-string catcher Carlos Maldonado. Outfielder Rick Ankiel followed suit by scoring on a Berndina single up the middle making the game 6-4 in favor of the Orioles.
Washington’s bullpen – including Craig Stammen, Ryan Perry, and Henry Rodriguez – held the Orioles and didn’t allow any runs in four innings of work. But even a last-minute heroic, two-out homerun to left field on a 2-2 pitch from Ryan Zimmerman off Jim Johnson couldn’t salvage the game. The 6-5 loss is the Nationals’ seventeenth one-run game this season.