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Nats' season rests on Detwiler's arm

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Nats' season rests on Detwiler's arm

For a club that relied so much on its deep starting rotation for six months, it's perhaps appropriate that the Nationals' season now rests on the left arm of the young man who best represented the organization's pitching depth.

Ross Detwiler wasn't projected to make the Nationals' rotation out of spring training, and even after earning the fifth starter's job on Opening Day, he still was bumped to the bullpen in May after Chien-Ming Wang returned from a hamstring injury.

Along the way, though, Detwiler proved his worth to the Nationals and proved himself a quality big-league starter during a breakthrough season that saw him go 10-8 while posting a 3.40 ERA.

That season-long performance earned Detwiler a spot in the Nationals' postseason rotation, and now it's earned him the right to start a win-or-else Game 4 for his team.

"He has really come a long way," manager Davey Johnson said. "I've seen him pitch some great ballgames. You know, he's got outstanding stuff, and he's got good poise. I have never seen him get really rattled by the situation."

That might be wishful thinking on Johnson's part, because Detwiler certainly appeared rattled the last time he pitched. Given the ball 11 days ago in St. Louis to face the same lineup he'll go up against this afternoon, the 26-year-old lefty seemed to wilt under the weight of the moment.

With a chance to clinch the NL East title for the Nationals, Detwiler lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs (three earned) while walking five.

"I try not to remember that one," he joked yesterday morning, prior to Game 3.

Detwiler will need to recall at least some details of that sub-par outing, lest he make the same mistakes against the Cardinals.

"The scouting report is still fresh in my mind," he said. "It's my last start and the last hitters I saw. I'll know how to attack them and how I want to do it."

The key for Detwiler, as it has been so often this season: Go right after hitters and get ahead in the count, then start mixing and matching his offspeed stuff with his fastball.

One aspect in Detwiler's favor: He'll be pitching in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of Nationals Park, where he went 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA this season. On the road, he was 2-6 with a 4.38 ERA.

Detwiler doesn't know why precisely his home/road splits have been so dramatic, but he admits there's a comfort level pitching in Washington.

"I think it's just a routine thing," he said. "I'm able to get in the routine here. I have my places I go before starts at home. Obviously on the road, you're in a different city, so you can't do that. Hopefully that's what it is, and I'll go about that tomorrow."

If not, Detwiler and the Nationals might have all winter to think about it.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win