Stemming from an incident Tuesday when Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected for having pine tar on his glove, the two skippers have exchanged barbs about how the other has handled the situation as each team picked up a win.
Each team will send a young lefty to the mound in Thursday's rubber match, as Tampa Bay's Matt Moore pitches against Washington's Gio Gonzalez.
Moore is coming off perhaps his best outing of the season on Friday, when his curveball helped him dominate the Marlins for seven innings with no runs and eight strikeouts, allowing just one hit and walking three.
"I think I'm having pretty decent success with my fastball command and I've been able to mix in my other offspeed pitches here and there, so it's been going all right," Moore said.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, has been no slouch himself this season. In 13 starts, he is 8-3 with a 2.52 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings pitched.
He's coming off a loss in his last outing, though, after allowing three runs on five hits and a pair of walks with eight strikeouts in six innings against the Yankees.
Rays: Joyce misses time with back tightness
Outfielder Matt Joyce was removed from Tuesday's game and was out of the lineup Wednesday because of back tightness, a condition he said he's been dealing with for a week.
Joyce had previously missed Sunday's game because of flu-like symptoms. The Rays likely won't try to rush Joyce, especially considering they face lefties in the next two games.
Luke Scott, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list because of back stiffness, said he believes he will be ready to play Monday when Tampa Bay begins a series with Kansas City.
Nationals: Wang removed from rotation
After pitching to a 6.10 ERA in five games (four starts), Chien-Ming Wang was removed from the starting rotation, with Ross Detwiler taking his place.
Wang started Tuesday's game, giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings before being replaced by Detwiler, who pitched 3 2/3 innings without allowing a hit.
Detwiler started the season in the rotation and went 3-3 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts. He's done well since moving to the bullpen, and currently has a 3.34 ERA.
Rays starter Chris Archer made his Major League debut Wednesday, pitching six innings and allowing three runs on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
Washington's Tyler Clippard improved to 10-for-10 in save chances Wednesday since taking over as the team's closer. In those appearances, he hasn't allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings pitched with one hit allowed and 14 strikeouts.