Washington Nationals' lefty Ross Detwiler took the mound in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field in the bottom of the sixth, an inning after the US Team he was pitching for took a 6-2 lead in their World Baseball Classic matchup with the WBC upstarts from Italy. Detwiler, a 26-year-old, '07 Nats' first round pick was a late addition to the US roster when several players either bowed out and declined invitations. When he learned he'd been invited, Detwiler told reporters earlier this Spring, he immediately said yes, then realized he would probably have to check with the Nationals. The defending NL East champs made the decision to let both Detwiler and 2012 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez represent the United States in the third installment of the international tournament.
An 84 mph, 1-2 change got Detwiler a groundout to third from the first batter he faced, Italian third baseman Alex Liddi, a 23-year-old prospect in the Seattle Mariners' organization. The US left-hander went to a full count with Team Italy outfielder Mike Costanzo, a 29-year-old Phillies' '05 2nd Round pick who signed with the Nationals this winter, and got a groundout to second for out no.2, then got help from US second baseman Brandon Phillips, who made a diving play to field a sharp grounder behind second and a strong throw to first from his knees that Eric Hosmer scooped up in time to get 32-year-old Team Italy infielder Mario Chiarini for out no.3 in what ended up a 13-pitch, nine strike, 1-2-3 frame.
Ross Detwiler returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh. A 90 mph 2-2 sinker to 32-year-old Italian left fielder Lorenzo Avagnina resulted in a weak grounder to Eric Hosmer, who tossed to a covering Detwiler for out no.1. Catcher Tyler LaTorre went down chasing a brutal 0-2 bender for out no.2, but pint-sized pinch hitter Jack Santora worked an eight-pitch at bat that ended with a two-out walk that stretched Detwiler to 16 pitches and 29 total in his second inning of work. Four pitches later, however, pinch hitter Alessandro Vaglio flew out to right and Detwiler had two scoreless innings of work on the board. 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 33 P, 23 S.
Italian outfielder Stefano Desimoni sent a high hopper to short for out no.1 on Detwiler's second pitch in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch hitter Chris Colabello grounded to short on the first pitch he saw for out no.2, but Juan Infante sent a 91 mph 1-2 fastball by Jimmy Rollins and into left for a two-out single. A curve from Detwiler fooled Mike Costanzo, but got by U.S. catcher Matt Lucroy, allowing Infante to take second, before Costanzo K'd swinging over a 92 mph 2-2 sinker to end Detwiler's third scoreless frame after 10 pitches. 43 pitches total in 3.0 scoreless innings.
Detwiler was rolling, so Team USA manager Joe Torre sent him out for a fourth inning of work that started with a groundout to short from Mario Chiarini. Lorenzo Avagnina went down chasing an 0-2 change into the dirt and Tyler LaTorre grounded back to the mound to end a quick eight-pitch inning and the game. US 6, Italy 2. 4.0 scoreless for Ross Detwiler.
Ross Detwiler's Line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 51 P 36 S.
• via Ross Detwiler on Twitter (@NationalDet):
Great win for the team. Good time for my first ever save. Had to keep the game ball twitter.com/NationalDet/st…— Ross Detwiler (@NationalDet) March 10, 2013