Another dandy delivered by Detwiler (we go to extras)

Yeah, I love alliteration. What of it?

Ross Detwiler is completely locked in tonight against the Braves, having thrown six scoreless innings on just 79 pitches.

Detwiler has allowed just three hits, walked two and struck out three. He’s held the potent top five hitters in the Braves’ order to a 2-for-14 line with two Ks.

Only once has Atlanta put a runner in scoring position tonight; that came when Justin Upton doubled off the very top of the wall in right-center with two outs in the sixth. The umpires went into the tunnel to review the play and check whether the ball had actually left the yard, and after a delay of three minutes and 42 seconds, determined the call on the field would stand.

Some here in the press box wondered whether the delay would affect Detwiler, given the cool conditions tonight and the fact he’s been in a groove all night.

Nope. Detwiler was unfazed.

He pumped three straight strikes by Evan Gattis immediately after the delay ended, getting Gattis swinging to end the threat.

It’s 4-0 Nats after six, and Detwiler still has not allowed an earned run this season. The unearned run surrendered in Detwiler’s debut against the Reds is the lone mark against him thus far.

Update: Detwiler’s streak without allowing an earned run is over.

With two outs in the seventh, Detwiler served up a solo homer to center off the bat of Chris Johnson, making it a 4-1 Nats lead.

Detwiler had gone 13 2/3 straight innings without an earned run prior to that longball.

He’s now at 90 pitches through seven. Tyler Clippard and Henry Rodriguez are warming and, given Davey Johnson’s quick hook early in the season, it’d be a major surprise to see Detwiler come out of the Nats’ dugout for the eighth.

Update II: Clippard did indeed come out for the eighth, but he got himself into quite a jam, walking three and allowing a single to make it a 4-2 game and put the tying run in scoring position.

He threw 35 pitches to retire just two hitters, and with the bases loaded and two outs, Johnson called on Drew Storen to bail his roommate out of trouble.

Storen did just that, getting Dan Uggla to fly out to the warning track in center to end the threat and keep it a two-run game.

Things got a little hairy there for a bit, but the Nats will take at least a two-run lead to the ninth.

Update III: We’re got a tie ballgame.

Storen loaded the bases with two walks and a single in the ninth, and with two outs, Justin Upton tapped one behind the third base bag. Ryan Zimmerman fielded the ball cleanly, but tried to get Heyward at second and ended up throwing the ball into right field. Johnson and Blake DeWitt came around to score to knot the game, 4-4.

It was a tough play for Zimmerman, but the smartest call might’ve been to just hold the ball and not make a throw. The tying run - DeWitt - was the one that started the play at second, and if Zimmerman holds the ball, DeWitt is on third instead of crossing home plate. It’s a tough call any way you look at it, but Zimmerman didn’t really have a shot at forcing Heyward at second, and his risky throw backfired.

We go to the bottom of the ninth.

Update IV: And now we’re going to extras. Craig Stammen comes on for the Nats to work the 10th with the game tied, 4-4.

Can you believe we have 18 more of these between the Nats and Braves ahead of us? This is probably as close to playoff intensity as you can get in April.

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