A reason to cheer and a tie ballgame (a heck of an effort from Detwiler)

Finally, this crowd had something to cheer about.

More than 45,000 fans waited for a reason to explode all game yesterday. The Cardinals took a lead in the top of the first, piled on in the second and then never looked back. The largest crowd in Nationals Park history never got a chance to let loose.

They sure did in the second inning today, when Adam LaRoche ripped a solo homer to center to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

LaRoche fouled off three straight 3-2 pitches and then roped a 92 mph Kyle Lohse two-seamer down in the zone out to center and just over the wall. The Nats Park crowd went nuts, and the Nats had their first lead since the ninth inning of Game 1.

It seems fitting, to me, at least, that LaRoche was the one to pick the Nats up and give them a jolt given that he was the one who carried them offensively for parts of the season.

He mashed 33 regular season homers and now has two in the playoffs.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Cardinals tied things up in the third on a sac fly from Carlos Beltran, plating Pete Kozma.

Ross Detwiler had walked Kozma to start the inning, and wouldn’t you know it, it came back to haunt him. A fielding error from Ian Desmond sure didn’t help matters, but the Nats would’ve loved to see Detwiler put up a zero right after they scored in the second to secure that lead a bit.

Instead, it’s 1-1 as we go to the fourth.

Update: The Nationals couldn’t have asked for a whole lot more from Detwiler, given the lineup he’s facing today and the way the three starters in front of him have gotten pushed around by these Cardinals bats.

Detwiler has thrown five innings of one-run ball so far, allowing just two hits and one unearned run. He’s walked two but has worked around the baserunners he’s put on and has taken advantage of the Cardinals’ aggressiveness and let them put the ball in play.

The Nats haven’t been able to give Detwiler much support, however. They’ve managed just two baserunners and the one run off Lohse, and we’re still tied 1-1 going to the sixth.

Detwiler will stay in the game for now, but Davey Johnson can’t give him much rope. Craig Stammen was warming in the fifth, and Game 2 starter Jordan Zimmermann is now getting loose here in the sixth.

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