Detwiler, Niese dueling in D.C. (Nats win an insane ballgame)

We’ve cruised through 5 1/2 innings at Nats Park, and Ross Detwiler and Jon Niese are locked in quite a pitcher’s duel.

The Nationals have a 1-0 lead after Tyler Moore went yard in the bottom of the fifth, a blast which got the Nats their first baserunner since Bryce Harper singled with one out in the first.

It was Moore’s fifth homer of the season and his first since June 27.

Prior to the Moore longball, Niese had set down 12 straight Nats.

Detwiler has been pretty darn effective tonight, as well, although he’s gotten some major help from his friends.

The Nationals’ defense has been exceptional tonight. Michael Morse made a leaping catch at the wall to rob David Wright of extra bases in the fourth and an inning later, Steve Lombardozzi ranged way into the hole on the right side to snag an Ike Davis grounder and make the throw to Detwiler covering first.

Add in two smooth double plays turned by the Nats’ temporary middle-infield combination of Lombardozzi and Danny Espinosa and a nice grab and throw by Ryan Zimmerman in the first, and you can tell the Nats have brought their leather tonight.

Detwiler has done a really nice job of attacking the Mets hitters, and his pitch count is incredibly low as a result. He’s needed just 68 pitches to get through six innings, 50 of which have been strikes.

Fifty strikes, 18 balls. Yeah, that’s attacking the zone, alright.

This is Detwiler’s first start in 12 days, but all the time off doesn’t seem to have affected him one bit.

Update: Detwiler went seven innings for just the third time in his career, holding the Mets scoreless and allowing just five hits. The lefty struck out four and worked out of a big-time jam in the seventh, holding New York without a run despite Wright reaching third with none out.

Detwiler struck out Scott Hairston, got Jason Bay to fly out to shallow center and retired Ike Davis on a groundout to second to end the inning. What a fantastic performance by the Nats’ 26-year-old starter tonight.

Sean Burnett stranded a runner at second in the eighth, keeping the score 1-0 as Tyler Clippard warms for the ninth.

Update II: Clippard has blown his first save since taking over as the Nationals’ closer. Unfortunately for Detwiler, it means his gem won’t result in a win.

After allowing back-to-back singles to start the ninth, Clippard served up a three-run homer to pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin which put the Mets on top. The ball barely cleared the wall in center, and after the umpires gave it a look, they confirmed it was indeed a home run.

This is the second straight rough outing for Clippard, who loaded the bases with none out in Miami two days ago. The righty got out of that jam unscathed, but he wasn’t so lucky tonight.

Update III: Down to his last strike, and having seen five straight curveballs, Danny Espinosa came up huge.

Espinosa ripped a 99-mph fastball from Bobby Parnell up the middle to bring in pinch runner Ian Desmond with the game-tying run.

Jesus Flores struck out swinging to end the threat, but the Nats have hunkered down enough to send this one to extras. What a wild one it’s been so far.

Update IV: This game is pure insanity.

After the Mets took the lead in the top of the 10th on Josh Thole’s RBI double, the Nats responded. Again.

Bryce Harper absolutely demolished a Tim Byrdak slider to right, scoring Jhonatan Solano with the tying run. Harper flopped into third with a triple, the Nats dugout exploded and the crowd went nuts.

After intentional walks to Zimmerman and Desmond, Tyler Moore stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Mets reliever Pedro Beato spiked a 1-2 curve into the dirt, it got past Thole and Zimmerman came in to score the game-winning run.

The final: 5-4 Nats. What a ballgame.

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