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Wang takes over fifth spot in rotation

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Wang takes over fifth spot in rotation

After a rough stretch of four starts, and the timely return of Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiler is headed back to the bullpen. Davey Johnson informed reporters of the move after the team's win on Saturday.

Wang was the original plan for the fifth spot in the rotation and will now return to the role. Wang pitched three innings on Friday, his first appearance of the season, and earned the win after allowing three hits and a solo home run.

Detwiler took advantage of the opportunity early on this season and held a 1.64 ERA through the month of April. Since, however, he has allowed at least three earned in his last four games. His walk totals are up and he has been pulled earlier in games.

Detwiler is 3-3 on the year with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP. He will take the role of long relief, a spot he had mixed results in last season. Johnson said he realizes the former sixth overall pick still has a high ceiling, but that Wang brings more experience and a more accomplished rsum as a starter. Wang twice won 19 games as a member of the New York Yankees.

Wang has been a starter his entire career and has little experience pitching out of the bullpen. He is known for warming up extensively before starts and being a slow starter in games. In 11 games with Washington last season he went 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA.

Johnson had Wang slotted fifth to begin the year, but on March 15 he suffered an injury to his left hamstring. He sprained the hamstring while fielding a ball and running to get a player out at first during a spring training game. The 32-year-old Wang was placed on the disabled list and has since made rehab appearances at Hagerstown, Potomac, and Syracuse.

Wang is a seven-year MLB veteran, he spent five seasons with the Yankees before sitting out 2010 with shoulder injuries. The Nationals signed him in February of 2010, but didn't see him fully recover and pitch for them until July of 2011. He re-signed with the club in November for a one-year, 4 million contract.

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John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

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USA TODAY Sports

John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

ST. LOUIS -- Even John Gant cracked a smile.

Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Tuesday night for their season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and moved within one game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt was named interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

"Things are starting to click for us," Wong said. "We're playing confident. We're out there playing aggressive and I think it's the kind of baseball Cardinals fans have been waiting for."

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

"We've just got to keep pulling the same rope, keep grinding it out, keep trying to win ballgames," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, both wins.

The 26-year-old Gant was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second. The two-run shot gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"I was jogging kind of my hands in the air," said Wong, who scored on Gant's homer. "I already knew it was going out. Looking back I think he almost caught me."

Added Gant, "I thought it was going to hit the wall maybe but when I finally looked up and (Wong) was looking back at me, that's when I knew it was going over the wall."

Gant, who has a reputation for being a stoic player, admitted to smiling "once or twice" once he got back to the dugout.

Wong's solo homer made it 6-1 in the sixth, but Washington responded with three in the eighth. Harper hit a two-run shot, and Daniel Murphy singled in Anthony Rendon.

Matt Adams then struck out looking against Dakota Hudson, ending the inning, and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.

Paul DeJong also doubled and scored for St. Louis one night after he connected for a game-ending homer in a 7-6 victory. Matt Carpenter walked in the sixth to extend his on-base streak to 32 games.

"We have a 25-man roster and we have confidence in all of them," Shildt said. "They're here for a reason and guys are looking to contribute every night and in different ways."

Gonzalez was charged with five runs and five hits in four innings. The veteran left-hander is just 1-4 in his last six starts.

"I wasn't hitting my spots," Gonzalez said. "Just not being as consistent in the strike zone as I should be. It's just one of those games you can't explain."

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

Ryan Madson is the latest Washington National headed to the DL, turning the team's relief pitching rotation upside down even more than it already is. 

According to MASN's Dan Kolko, the 37-year-old is nursing a "lumbar nerve root irritation" injury and will sit out for 10 days. 

In response, the team has named Koda Glover as the closer, who was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse Wednesday. 

Glover gave up a game-ending solo blast to the Cardinals' Kevin DeJong Monday night. 

The night before, Madson was on the other end of David Bote's walk-off grand slam in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs. 

As for Tuesday night, Glover's status remains unknown.

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