Ross Detwiler struggled the last time he faced Atlanta and as a result he was removed from Washington's rotation.

Detwiler made a successful return to the Nationals' starting five last week and he gets another shot at the Braves tonight in the opener of a three-game series.

Detwiler lasted just 4 1/3 innings at Atlanta on May 25, charged with three runs on five hits and four walks in a no-decision. He was then replaced in the rotation by Chien-Ming Wang and pitched in relief until getting the start on Sunday in Baltimore.

The left-hander was solid, tossing five scoreless innings of four-hit ball, walking two in a no-decision. Washington, though, lost a 2-1 decision.

"I thought [Detwiler] was real aggressive going after them," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said on his team's website. "He did attack the hitters, and I thought he was around the strike zone all the time. Sometimes he rushed a little bit, but by and large, he was in a good groove."

Detwiler, 26, is 4-3 with a 3.09 earned run average in 16 games this season, including 10 starts. In his career versus the Braves, which includes seven games and four starts, Detwiler is 1-0 with a 3.80 ERA.

Young Braves hurler Randall Delgado will face the Nats for the first time in his career this evening fresh off the shortest outing of his career.

Delgado dropped his third straight start on Saturday, only lasting 1 1/3 innings at Boston. The 22-year-old righty was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks in an 8-4 decision.

"When a young kid struggles with location, it snowballs on him fast, and it snowballed on him tonight," offered veteran Braves third baseman Chipper Jones of Delgado's outing.

The outing was a step back for Delgado, who had thrown eight innings of two- run ball on June 17 in a tough-luck loss to the Orioles. In 14 starts this season, he is 4-8 with a 4.52 ERA.

The Nationals hope that their offense can stay red-hot against Delgado after pounding out 35 runs, 57 hits and 10 homers in a four-game series at Colorado. However, Washington only earned a split of the set despite scoring 10 or more runs in three straight games for the first time in club history.

After winning the previous two contests by a combined 13 runs, the Rockies kept pace on Thursday and handed the Nationals an 11-10 setback in 11 innings on Thursday. Marco Scutaro drove in the winning run with a single off Washington reliever Craig Stammen.

The Nats didn't go down without a fight as Bryce Harper smacked a game-tying solo homer in the ninth inning.

"They didn't throw me one strike the whole series," said Harper, who went 5- for-20 with seven strikeouts in the four games. "I got a pitch over the plate, drove it, and it was a 10-10 ballgame."

Michael Morse clubbed a three-run homer and Ian Desmond hit a two-run shot in the loss, which still has Washington 3 1/2 games ahead of both the Braves and Mets for first place in the National League East.

Atlanta hopes to cut into that lead in this series and was denied a three-game sweep of Arizona with yesterday's 3-2 loss.

Closer Craig Kimbrel allowed his first homer since Sept. 19, 2011 as the Diamondbacks' Chris Young took him deep for a tie-breaking homer in the ninth inning.

"He's been the most consistent pitcher in baseball," said Braves catcher Brian McCann about Kimbrel. "You tip your hat to Chris Young on that. He put together an unbelievable at-bat."

McCann ripped an RBI double and Michael Bourn added a sacrifice fly for the Braves, who had won five of seven coming in.

The Nationals have won four of five versus the Braves this season, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta from May 25-27.