Tuesday night's game began with three scoreless by each starter. Cliff Lee needed 36 pitches and Ross Detwiler got through three on 32 after a 16-pitch third inning in which he gave up two line drives, one to left that Steve Lombardozzi caught while charging in and one to right that fell in front of a sliding Jayson Werth. A groundout by Ben Revere ended the Philadelphia Phillies' third and the Washington Nationals took a 1-0 lead with two down in the top of the fourth when Werth hit a high first-pitch cutter from Lee out to left for his 7th home run of the year.
Michael Young lined a 2-0 fastball to center in the home-half of the fourth for the first of three doubles he hit Tuesday night, then scored after a sac bunt and sac fly moved him around the bases. 1-1. A 16-pitch fourth had Lee up to 52. Detwiler finished a nine-pitch fourth inning at 41 pitches.
A seven-pitch fifth had Lee at 59. Detwiler hit Delmon Young to put the leadoff runner on in the Phillies' fifth, and two outs later gave up a single to center on an 0-2 fastball to Cliff Lee that the opposing pitcher sent back up the middle to a charging Denard Span, whose throw home arrived in time for Nats' catcher Kurt Suzuki to catch it and apply a perfect tag on the bottom Young's left cleat as the runner slid into home. Detwiler threw 13 pitches in the fifth, leaving him at 54.
"He came right after us and threw a lot of first-pitch strikes," Davey Johnson told reporters after the game when asked about facing Lee, who improved to (9-2) on the year with the win. "I mean, just came right after us with really hard stuff. Cut the fastball a little bit," Johnson said, but his own starter was right there with Lee. "[Detwiler] was kind of matching him pitch-for-pitch, and it looked like he got a little out of sorts in the sixth and the ball started coming up and got a little wild. But you've just got to tip your hat to Mr. Lee. He pitched a heck of a ballgame."
Lee gave up a one-out single by Anthony Rendon on a 1-0 fastball to the rookie second baseman in the top of the sixth, but a swinging strikeout by Ryan Zimmerman and a groundout by Jayson Werth followed in a 15-pitch inning that had the Phillies' lefty at 74.
When Ross Detwiler was done with a 31-pitch sixth he was at 85 overall and done for the night after he'd given up a bunt single by Ben Revere, an RBI double by Michael Young, who lined a full-count fastball over first and into right, and a two-out, two-run single by Kevin Frandsen, who lined a 2-0 sinker to left field that bounced in the outfield grass before Steve Lombardozzi could reach it. Two runs scored on Frandsen's hit and the Phillies went ahead 4-1 in what ended up a 4-2 win in Citizens Bank Park.
Davey Johnson was asked after the game if he thought Lombardozzi should have gotten to Frandsen's line drive to left in the sixth. "I mean, he made a heck of a play earlier," the manager said, "that was a tough play. I thought he got a good jump on it and just couldn't quite get there." The second of the two runs Frandsen drove scored when Lombardozzi's throw home arrived late. Lombardozzi has filled in admirably in the outfield after coming up as a second baseman, but did the fact that he was out there with Bryce Harper down, Tyler Moore in Syracuse and Roger Bernadina on the bench, cost the Nationals at a crucial point in the game? Did the fact they had a second baseman in left hurt the Nats'?
"It hurts," Davey Johnson said, "That's where we're at though."
"But you just tip your hat to Lee, though," the manager continued, "he pitched a heck of a ballgame."
Johnson once again stressed that he felt his hitters needed to be more aggressive at the plate.
"We need to be more aggressive," the 70-year-old skipper said, "but I guess [Lee] was staying on the corners and we weren't getting a good look at him, but he's been doing that all year. That's his M.O. He comes right at you."
"We're certainly capable we've just got to go do it," Johnson said of the Nationals' continuing offensive struggles. "I'm an optimist. We've got a lot of the season left. We've got a lot of good players. We'll start doing better."
"It's a long season," Johnson told reporters, "I don't worry about what the Braves are doing or anybody else. We just need to right our ship here and we do that we'll be fine. There's plenty of time left, but I don't worry about that. It's a little too early for me to watch the scoreboard."
• FBB + District Sports Page = Nats Nightly: