After spinning a gem his last time out, Ross Detwiler has delivered another stellar outing through six innings tonight.
Outside of a two-run homer served up to Ben Francisco in the first inning, Detwiler has been nearly unhittable, facing just two above the minimum over his last five innings of work.
Overall, the Nationals lefty has surrendered just three hits and two walks over his six frames, and has needed only 74 pitches thus far.
Yet again, he’s been aggressive with his fastball early in counts, and it’s paid off. He only has two strikeouts on the game, but that’s just fine with pitching coach Steve McCatty.
The Nats would much prefer Detwiler (and their other starters, for that matter) to pound the zone with fastballs, forcing opponents to put the ball in play.
As a result of his economical outing, Detwiler should be able to work at least seven innings and save a tired bullpen. Six of the Nationals’ seven relievers pitched in last night’s 11-inning ballgame.
Unfortunately for Detwiler, Houston’s Jordan Lyles has been equally as stingy.
Just like Detwiler, Lyles has allowed a two-run homer, which came after a walk. Danny Espinosa crushed a first-pitch Lyles fastball into the second deck in right to tie the game at 2-2.
That’s where we stand entering the seventh, largely because the two hurlers tonight have been excellent despite what’s been a bizarre strike zone from home plate ump Mark Carlson.
Update: Detwiler went seven tonight, holding the Astros to just those two runs on three hits.
In five starts since the All-Star break, Detwiler has a 1.92 ERA, 17 strikeouts and six walks over 32 2/3 innings.
Yeah, he’s been excellent lately.
He’ll get a no-decision tonight, as we’re still tied 2-2 going to the ninth. Another tight ballgame in Houston, although this one has been a little more cleanly played than the one we saw last night.
Update II: For the second straight night, the Nationals and Astros are going to extras.
Not much offense in this one. The stat lines for the two teams through nine innings: two runs, three hits, no errors for the Nationals; two runs, four hits, no errors for the Astros.
Update III: Espinosa provided the first two Nationals runs of the night, and he brought in the game-winner in the 12th, as well.
But Roger Bernadina’s insane leaping grab at the wall in the bottom of the 12th will be all anyone will be talking about tomorrow.
Tyler Clippard put two on in the 12th, and with two outs, Brett Wallace put a charge in one, sending it to left-center. Bernadina got on his horse, jumped into the fence, narrowly avoiding a protruding column, and made a spectacular game-saving catch.
Craig Stammen jumped up and down in the bullpen just beyond Bernadina, teammates poured onto the field and Bernadina was treated to hugs and butt-smacks by all.
What a fantastic play to end a well-played game. The Nats win 3-2 and have their second extra-inning win in as many days.