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Washington Nationals Drop Series Finale With Atlanta Braves, 5-1, But Take 2 of 3 In D.C.

Aug 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Ross Detwiler (48) throws in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
Aug 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Ross Detwiler (48) throws in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

• No Pressure, Det: Before the start of tonight's game, which was delayed 29 minutes by rain, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson talked about 26-year-old left-hander Ross Detwiler as an important part of the Nats' rotation going forward since they'll eventually be losing Stephen Strasburg to the innings limit that's been the topic of discussion for over a year now in the nation's capital. Asked if the '07 1st Round pick would be a key piece of the Nats' plans for late September and a possible post season run, Johnson said, "There's no doubt about it and he's not a bad choice."

Martin Prado doubled in the first at bat vs Detwiler tonight, sending an 0-2 sinker by first base and into foul territory down the right field line where a fan interfered with it. The Braves' left fielder took third on a groundout by Reed Johnson, but Detwiler struck Jason Heyward out with a 96 mph 0-2 fastball up and away and got a fly to center from Chipper Jones to end a 16-pitch, fastball-filled frame with Prado still standing 90 ft from home plate. 0-0 after a half. Braves' right-hander Kris Medlen retired the first two Nationals he faced before the Face of the Nationals Franchise singled through the right side of the infield, but Michael Morse K'd swinging to end a 16-pitch bottom of the first in Nationals Park. Still 0-0.

• Det Rocks Stirrups = Real Ballplayer: A 1-2 fastball low and away got Freddie Freeman swinging for out no.1 of the second and K no.2 on the night for Ross Detwiler. Braves' backstop David Ross sent a weak grounder out to short and Tyler Pastornicky grounded out to a charging Zimmerman on the infield grass to end an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the second by the Nationals' lefty. Ian Desmond lined to right with one down in the bottom of the inning and reached safely in spite of a diving attempt by Jason Heyward when it was ruled that the Braves' outfielder had trapped the ball. Desmond went first to third on a weak grounder by Danny Espinosa when Braves' catcher David Ross hit the Nats' second baseman and was charged with an E, but Kurt Suzuki grounded into an inning-ending 4-3 DP In the next AB. 0-0 after two.

• Danny's Gaffe Ruled A Hit: Paul Janish chased an 0-2 fastball upstairs for a swinging K and the first out of the Braves' third. Switch-hitting pitcher Kris Medlen popped out to Adam LaRoche and Martin Prado lined back to the mound as Ross Detwiler completed his third scoreless frame on 11 pitches, leaving him at 35 pitches overall in 3.0 IP. Kris Medlen was up to 39 after a 12-pitch 3rd, which saw him set Detwiler, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper down in order. 0-0 after three. Reed Johnson singled by Ryan Zimmerman at third to break up Detwiler's streak of nine-straight Braves' set down. Danny Espinosa thought about trying to turn a DP on a grounder to second by Jason Heyward, but the moment's hesitation and a weak throw to LaRoche led to both runners being safe. A grounder to short by Chipper Jones allowed the Nats to turn a 6-4-3 DP, however, for the first two outs of the inning and Freddie Freeman lined to his counterpart at first to end Detwiler's fourth scoreless frame. Still no score.

• Bad First Step, Harp: Adam LaRoche collected the Nationals' fourth hit off the Braves' Kris Medlen when he lined a first-pitch fastball to center for a two-out single the bottom of the fourth inning, but Ian Desmond K'd swinging to end the frame. Braves' catcher David Ross lined to center on a 2-1 heater for Atlanta's fourth hit off Detwiler in the top of the fifth. Ross was forced out at second on a grounder to first by Tyler Pastornicky. A foul-tip strike three from Paul Janish got Detwiler out no. 2 of the 5th and K no. 4 on the night, but Detwiler walked the opposing pitcher on four pitches to put two on for Prado, who lined a 2-2 pitch to center and over Bryce Harper's head to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead. Bad read by Harper. Double no. 36 of 2012 by the Braves' left fielder. 22-pitch inning for Detwiler.

• Eye Of The Tiger + Slide/Stop™: Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones hit back-to-back singles to right to start the sixth. Bryce Harper made a nice play on a fly to center off Freddie Freeman's bat for the first out of the inning. Heyward tagged and took third and Ross Detwiler was lifted in favor of Craig Stammen with runners on the corners and one out, and the Nats' right-handed reliever got an inning-ending 5-4-3 out of David Ross with some help from the Nats' slick-fielding third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. 2-0 Braves in the sixth.

Detwiler's line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 78 P, 51 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

After grounding out to short in his two previous AB's, Jayson Werth lined to left and by a diving Martin Prado for his 13th double of 2012 in the bottom of the inning, doing his trademark slide/stop™ after thinking about third when the Braves got the ball back in quickly. Bryce Harper K'd swinging in the next at bat, leaving him 1 for 12 in the series and 0 for 3 tonight. Ryan Zimmerman hit a broken bat single to center with one down to move Werth to third and Michael Morse walked to load the bases for Adam LaRoche. The Nats' first baseman popped out to the Braves' Freddie Freeman for out no.2 on the first pitch he saw, bringing Ian Desmond up and the Nats' shortstop grounded out to third to end Medlen's sixth scoreless frame. Still 2-0 Atlanta.

• Lombo Can't Be Stopped: Craig Stammen needed 14 pitches to retire the Braves in order in the top of the seventh. Pinch hitter Steve Lombardozzi singled with two down in the bottom of the inning, but Jayson Werth hit an excuse me grounder back to the mound to end Medlen's seventh scoreless in Nats Park. Still 2-0 Braves. Tom Gorzelanny took over in the eighth, striking Martin Prado out after Jayson Werth missed a foul pop and was charged with an E. Martin Prado K'd swinging for out no.2 and Freddie Freeman rolled one out to second to end the top of the frame. Eric O'Flaherty took over for Atlanta and gave up a leadoff single to left by Bryce Harper, who took second on an error by Martin Prado. A groundout by Ryan Zimmerman moved Harper to third and he scored on a line drive single by Michael Morse that cut the Braves' lead in half. 2-1. Adam LaRoche walked, moving Morse's pinch runner, Roger Bernadina into scoring position with one down, but Ian Desmond grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 and was limping when he arrived at first. 2-1 Atlanta after eight.

• Yeah, That Got Ugly: Ryan Zimmerman sailed a throw to first to put Chipper Jones on to start the ninth. A line drive double to right by Freddie Freeman put two runners in scoring position with no outs. A sac fly to center gave Atlanta back its two-run lead. An RBI single to center by Michael Bourn made it 4-1... and a wild pitch, stolen base and E:2 brought Bourn in to make it 5-1 Atlanta in the ninth. Craig Kimbrel threw a scoreless bottom of the inning for the Braves and the Nats ended their six-game homestand 4-2.

• Miss The Game? The D.C. Faithful Were Watching...

• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: COMING SOON!! W00T!

Nationals now 77-47.