Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats go for the sweep tonight at Nationals Park.
Detwiler handled the heat well last weekend in Atlanta, carrying a shutout into the seventh before he finally faded. If their No. 5 starter can continue pitching like that, the Nationals will gladly take it.
They'll also take as much offense as they can get, but this red-hot lineup will face a stiff challenge tonight in Matt Cain, who is three weeks removed from his perfect game but did get hit around by the Reds his last time out.
It's Turn Back the Clock Night here. Both teams will be wearing replica 1924 uniforms, and there will be other old-timey quirks at the ballpark. Here at the Insider, though, we're all 21st century, so please check back for the usual live updates and analysis...
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Partly cloudy, 96 degrees, Wind 9 mph LF to RF
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
LHP Ross Detwiler
RF Justin Christian
2B Ryan Theriot
LF Melky Cabrera
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
CF Angel Pagan
1B Brandon Belt
SS Joaquin Arias
RHP Matt Cain
HP Gary Darling (cc), 1B Paul Emmel, 2B Scott Barry, 3B Jerry Meals
7:08 p.m. -- We are underway on Turn Back the Clock Night. Pretty cool pregame ceremonies that included both teams lining up in the infield for the national anthem, plus Walter Johnson's grandson throwing out the ceremonial first pitch from behind the dugout.
7:18 p.m. -- A swell job by the southpaw Detwiler to escape a bases-loaded conundrum in the top of the first. The young hurler allowed three consecutive base hits to Theriot, Cabrera and Posey but rebounded to strikeout Sandoval on a humdinger of a fastball, then got Pagan to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the scoreless frame.
7:29 p.m. -- I'll stop with the old-timey speak now. Detwiler looked sharp in the top of the second, retiring the side (with some help from Harper, who tracked down a fly ball to the base of the wall). Meanwhile, Drew Storen's rehab start at Class A Potomac is already over. He needed only eight pitches to retire all three batters he faced. Full story here.
7:38 p.m. -- He doesn't get credited with his 48th RBI of the season, but Ian Desmond does drive in the night's first run with a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the second. Not the kind of clutch hit we've come to expect out of Desmond, but the Nats will take a 1-0 lead.
7:51 p.m. -- But the Giants come right back and score twice in the top of the third as Detwiler gives up three more hits and a walk. He's already put seven men on base in three innings. In a way, he's actually fortunate to have only surrendered two runs to this point, because he's been playing with fire. Nats now trail 2-1 in the middle of the third.
8:13 p.m. -- We're through the top of the fourth now, and truthfully, it's a minor miracle Detwiler has only allowed three runs to this point. The Giants have been singling him to death, with a couple of doubles thrown in for good measure. Nine hits and a walk in total allowed so far, and his pitch count is up to 76. Can't imagine he's much longer for this game.
8:25 p.m. -- Do not adjust your TV sets. That was indeed Adam LaRoche bunting for a base hit for the first time in ... well, I can only imagine. Hey, if the Giants are going to play the infield shift like that, might as well take a free single, right? Not that it helped the Nats cause much. They continue to trail 3-1 after four.
8:41 p.m. -- Detwiler is done after five laborious innings. Despite allowing 11 hits and two walks, though, he did hold the Giants to only three runs. That's at least giving this team a chance ... if they can do anything at the plate against Cain. Which they haven't so far. Through five innings, they've amassed four hits. Rick Ankiel, pinch-hitting for Detwiler, struck out for the 29th time in his last 61 at-bats. Is that good? Craig Stammen enters for the sixth, the Nats trailing 3-1.
8:51 p.m. -- Make it 4-1 as Stammen serves up a run in the sixth. Credit to Justin Christian. The Giants leadoff man has reached base three times tonight and scored all three times. That's been the difference.
8:59 p.m. -- Nothing happening for the Nats against Cain. Harper battled through a 10-pitch at-bat but still grounded out in the sixth. It remains 4-1.
9:12 p.m. -- A rare, poor relief appearance for Stammen, who has allowed two runs in two innings to make it a 5-1 game. The Nats are running out of time to make something happen. And the way Cain is pitching, it may not matter.
9:15 p.m. -- Wait, we have signs of life. Ian Desmond with his 15th homer and 48th RBI of the season, an opposite-field shot to right in the bottom of the seventh. It's 5-2 now.
9:17 p.m. -- More signs of life! Danny Espinosa takes Cain deep as the Nats hit back-to-back homers for the second straight day. Make it 5-3 in the seventh.
9:30 p.m. -- Make it 5-4 as Harper laces a two-out double to left-center to score Mark DeRosa (who doubled as a pinch-hitter). That brought up Zimmerman with runners on second and third and a chance to tie the game or even take the lead and brought this crowd to its feet. Zim smoked a Sergio Romo pitch, too, unfortunately right at center fielder Pagan. So the seventh inning is over and the Nats still trail 5-4 as Henry Rodriguez (gulp!) enters from the bullpen.
9:40 p.m. -- Well, well, well ... Good Henry showed up tonight. Though he did commit a balk and put a runner on third with two outs. No worries, he got Posey to fly out to right to end the inning. We go to the bottom of the eighth, the Giants still ahead 5-4.
9:53 p.m. -- The Nats have certainly given themselves chances to score the tying run the last two innings. They just haven't been able to push that run across. Jesus Flores came up with two on and two out in the eighth but flied out to left. So we head to the ninth, still a 5-4 game.
10:03 p.m. -- OK, here we go. Bottom of the ninth, one-run game. It'll be a pinch-hitter (Tyler Moore), Lombardozzi and Harper against Santiago Casilla.
10:17 p.m. -- How about that! Just as they did in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series, the Nats storm back to win in dramatic walk-off fashion. Bryce Harper delivered the game-tying single. Adam LaRoche then delivered the game-winning ... uh, fielder's choice. He hit what should have been a 4-6-3 double play but the throw to first bounced and Belt couldn't handle it. Harper scored the winning run and the Nats pull off a 6-5 victory to sweep the series.