Jordan Zimmermann became the National League’s first seven game winner, tossing 7 2/3 strong innings, leading the Washington Nationals to a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.
But all anyone wants to talk about in this one was the way Bryce Harper slammed into the out-of-town scoreboard in right field in the fifth inning, crashing into the chain link protected wall, lacerating his neck guillotine-style either on something in the fence or on the gold chain he wore around his neck.
Harper was chasing A.J. Ellis’ slicing line drive when he turned and ran full bore into the wall. His head jerked back violently and he tumbled to the warning track, dazed. When the play completed, Denard Span was the first to get to Harper and immediately signaled for the training staff. After an examination, Harper made his way to his feet and walked off under his own power, the laceration on his neck evident with a thin streak of bright red blood.
After the game, the team announced Harper needed 11 stitches to close up the gash, and had jammed his shoulder, but that he apparently was cleared of any concussion symptoms for the time being.
The Nats (21-17) got out quickly against Dodgers starter Josh Beckett (0-5, 5.19). Denard Span led the game off with a single to right and went to third on Harper’s single to right. Ryan Zimmerman ground out to second, but Span scampered home with the game’s first run.
Washington went back to work in the third. Jordan Zimmermann led off the frame with a base on balls, then with one out went to second on first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’ fielding error, with Steve Lombardozzi safe at first. Harper walked to load the bases, then Ryan Zimmerman doubled to deep right to bring home Jordan and Lombardozzi. An Adam LaRoche grounder to first brought home Harper to make the score 4-0, chasing Beckett after just three innings.
In the top of the fifth, Lombardozzi got the rally going with a one-out single and Harper followed with a walk. Ryan Zimmerman hit a comebacker, but reliever Javy Guerra threw the ball away, allowing Lombardozzi to score, with Harper and Zimmerman moving up a base. LaRoche singled to right on a 2-0 count, plating both Harper and Zimmerman.
The Dodgers got their first run in the bottom half of the inning. Ellis was safe at third with a triple after Harper slammed into the wall. When play picked back up, Ellis scored on Skip Schumaker’s ground out to second. L.A. got another run in the eighth, when Zimmermann allowed three singles to Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp, the last of which signaled the end of the evening for Zimmermann.
Zimmermann’s final line was as typically strong as we’ve become accustomed to: 7 2/3 innings, two earned runs on nine hits and no walks, striking out five.
Tyler Clippard came in to clean up the rest of the eighth inning without incident, and Drew Storen pitched a perfect ninth to finish the win.
THE GOOD: Jordan Zimmermann. I mean, c’mon, who else?
THE BAD: Danny Espinosa. 0-for-5. 2 Ks. 4 LOB. Nope, that shoulder isn’t affecting his swing. .189/.222/.351. He has three walks in 114 plate appearances.
THE UGLY: Harper. You can see the video here. It was as scary as you could imagine.
THE STATS: 10 hits, 5 BBs, 10 Ks. 3-for-13 with RISP, 11 LOB. E: Suzuki (3, throw). One DP.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday night at 10:10 pm against the Dodgers.