The Washington Times - September 13, 2011, 12:11AM

NEW YORK — Ross Detwiler was mad. He spent three innings throwing anything and everything he could at the New York Mets 10 days ago and nothing worked. Everything was high, nothing was well-located, nothing was executed the way it should be, save for one pitch he got a ground-ball out on. The rest of them piled up for six earned runs in a short amount of time and a Nationals loss.

“It’s not arguably my worst outing, it’s definitely my worst outing,” he said then. “Nothing worked. They hit everything I threw up there hard.” 

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Then he was hamstrung by Mother Nature. At the time, it seemed like some cruel joke. Rain that washed out Detwiler’s next scheduled start and, because of the way the rest of the rotation lined up around him, pushed him back another four days. The move produced a scheduling quirk that lined him up to finally take the mound and get rid of that horrific performance against the same team that handed it to him 10 days earlier. 

“I really wanted to get them,” Detwiler said. “I really wanted to get them back for what they did to me last time. I look at it is that I hurt myself that last start against them. I went back and looked at the video and every ball was at the top of the strike zone.”

If there was any better way for Detwiler to get over it than what he did Monday night, you’d be hard-pressed to find it. He was effective, efficient and nearly unhittable for 5 2/3 innings of work. He sandwiched a walk and a hit around 17 straight outs, including 12 in a row from the second through the sixth.

For 5 2/3 innings, Detwiler looked every bit the former first-round draft pick the Nationals saw four years ago when they selected him. And then suddenly he wasn’t. One strike away from getting to the dugout with six scoreless and a manageable pitch count under his belt, Detwiler walked Justin Turner. 

Another walk and two singles followed. As Nationals manager Davey Johnson made his way out of the visitors dugout and headed toward the mound, Detwiler’s sterling start had been tarnished. He didn’t leave with his own personal win, a game that had just been a 2-0 Nationals’ lead was suddenly tied at two, but Todd Coffey struck out Jason Bay and Steve Lombardozzi’s first major league hit delivered a victory in the next half-inning. 

“Just lost the touch on my fastball,” Detwiler said of the sixth. “I couldn’t throw a strike there. I really wanted to finish the inning but it was Coffey Time.”

It was the same Mets team against the same pitcher. Last time it ended in a 7-3 Nationals loss. Monday night it was different.

“I think confidence is the big word there,” Detwiler said. “The first couple batters I was feeling my way through it. Got in a groove and felt like I could place a ball anywhere I wanted and rely on my defense. They were pretty clutch.

“Today I was just focsing on keeping the ball down and that’s what really worked for me… Really, location. I was mixing my pitches really well with (Wilson) Ramos back there and I give most of the credit to him. I think I shook him off one time tonight and that was it.” 

After 10 days of trying not to let his last performance eat away at him, Detwiler could finally smile and know that it was behind him.

“That was a masterpiece game,” Johnson said. “The way he was pitching there, I was excited to watch him.”