Jordan Zimmermann tossed a no-hitter until the sixth inning to carry the Washington Nationals to a dominant 8-0 victory over the Miami Marlins, but the Nats gained no ground in the NL Wild Card hunt Friday night.
Instead, they are five games back with just eight left to play.
The odds of Washington sneaking into a playoff spot are very slim, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the Nats are playing as of late. Since Aug. 9, they are riding a 29-11 record and, in their last 15 games played, the Nats are 12-3.
Marlins starter Jacob Turner (L, 3-8) kept the Nats’ bats quiet until the sixth. In the inning, Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back singles before Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper followed up with back-to-back doubles to bat in three runs.
Ian Desmond hit a grounder for the first out before Adam LaRoche walked and the Marlins called in Chris Hatcher to replace Turner.
Hatcher had little luck himself. Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles before Zimmermann bunted into a force out. Before the Fish could cap off the inning, Denard Span tripled to bat in the last of the Nats’ seven runs in the sixth.
In the seventh, Washington added one more off reliever Brad Hand via a walk by Werth and a double from Desmond.
Zimmermann remained on the mound through all nine to pitch his fourth complete game and second shutout of the season. His win, No. 19, leads the National League.
THE GOOD: Jordan Zimmermann might have pitched a few mediocre starts this season, but it’s encouraging to see that he can still be lights-out this late in the year. He led Washington past the Marlins with a final line of 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K and 79 of 107 pitches thrown for strikes.
Denard Span’s hitting streak may be no more, but Friday night he went 2-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and a strikeout.
THE BAD: The Nationals lit up in the sixth, but until then, Jacob Turner completely shut them down.
THE STATS: 8 R, 11 H, 0 E, 3 BB, 5 K, 5-for-12 with RISP, 5 LOB