PHILADELPHIA -- Left-hander Ross Detwiler threw the best game of his young career as the Nationals blanked the Phillies, 3-0, in the second game of a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. The Nats swept the twin bill and are on a six-game road winning streak -- a team record.
In the first game, Ryan Zimmerman's pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the 10th inning helped the Nationals edge the Phillies, 4-3.
In the nightcap, Detwiler pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits. Two of those hits came from Ben Francisco, with Placido Polanco collecting the other hit.
"He was throwing strikes and we were swinging the bats," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's not like you're not trying, but it's a long season and you just accomplished something. And whether you realize it, you're not really focused and not really up into it."
The key to success was simple for Detwiler: he kept the ball down in the strike zone. He had 10 ground-ball outs and threw just 81 pitches.
"I can't say enough good things about him," Johnson said about Detwiler. "The Phillies are a great hitting ballclub and he was letter perfect. He had a low pitch count and there was an early hook, but I felt that he did enough for us. Today he was nice, calm and collected and threw a lot of quality pitches. He had the sinker working."
Said Detwiler, "I focused on keeping the ball down and let the sinker sink a little bit. Once it's up in the zone, it doesn't sink very well. That was my focus today."
Left-hander Cliff Lee started for Philadelphia and lasted seven innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on 11 hits. Danny Espinosa put the first run on the board in the second, when he hit his 20th homer, a drive that landed in the right-center-field bleachers.
Espinosa joined Ryan Zimmerman (Washington, 2005) and Brad Wilkerson (Montreal, '02) as the third player in franchise history to hit 20 homers in their rookie campaigns.
Even more impressive, Espinosa has six consecutive hits against Lee, who had his personal seven-game winning streak snapped.
"It's not easy," Espinosa said about hitting Lee. "That's the guy I have to stick with my approach [against]. He hits his spots so well. I have to stick with my approach truly. He can get his pitches in, he can get his pitches out. Everything he throws is a strike. For me, I have to see him in the zone and try to get a good pitch to hit."
Four innings later, Detwiler helped himself with the bat, when he singled up the middle, scoring Espinosa.
"I somehow made contact and the ball found a hole," Detwiler said. "I'll probably do it zero times in the next 10 I try."
In the seventh, with runners on first and third, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz tried to pick off Jayson Werth at third base, but the ball hit Werth in the right elbow and bounced toward the tarp near the stands. Werth scored easily, but had to leave with a right elbow bruise. He is listed as day to day.
"It was hit right in the wrong spot. We'll see," Werth said. "It's swollen, but it's the price you pay. It was on the not-so-funny bone, I guess you could say. It's one of those things that kind of burned right away. Give it some time and it will be all right."
Relievers Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen shut down Philadelphia, with Storen picking up his 40th save. Storen became the second closer in Nationals history to collect 40 saves in a season. Chad Cordero saved 47 in 2005.
Saving 40 games was one of Storen's goals before the season started.
"I wasn't sure that I was going to get it," Storen said. "I didn't know how I was going to be able to adapt to it and do it over the long haul in the season. I'm in a learning process the whole way. I'm really happy to get there, but I know there are still some [saves] left. It's going to be a good building block for me."
With the victory, the Nationals improved to 74-79.
What does it mean to Johnson to have the Nationals sweep the Phillies, the team with the best record in baseball?
"We are growing up little by little in a lot of areas," Johnson said. "It wouldn't matter to me if it was the Phillies or anybody else. To compete against the best in baseball -- as far as I'm concerned -- and win a couple of games. We won the series before against them. That's just the maturation process coming along pretty good."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.