Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI in his return to the lineup, and Jordan Zimmermann tossed eight scoreless innings as the Washington Nationals powered past the Philadelphia Phillies with a 7-0 win Tuesday night.
After more than 1,100 games as the Nats’ third baseman, Zimmerman recorded a career first – a putout from the outfield. While the play was nothing more than routine – even for a newbie – it earned Zimmerman an ovation from fans excited to see the face of the franchise back on the field in any capacity. Zimmerman missed 44 games with a broken right thumb. Ironically enough, Zimmerman was called upon to step into the 7 position in place of Bryce Harper, who is recovering from thumb surgery.
In addition to Zimmerman’s success, Tuesday’s victory brought the Nats back to .500 and turned the page on a sub-par month for Zimmermann, who worked his way through a few less-than-impressive starts in May.
Both Zimmermann (W, 4-2) and David Buchanan (L, 1-2) kept the game scoreless through two. In the third, Zimmermann tossed a 1-2-3 inning, thanks in part to a successful challenge on what amounted to be a ground out.
In the bottom of the inning, however, Buchanan had no such luck. Danny Espinosa singled to lead off and took second on Zimmermann’s sacrifice bunt. Denard Span then singled to advance Espinosa to third before Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases.
Then, Jayson Werth hit a ground-rule double to plate both Espinosa and Span, before Adam LaRoche brought home Rendon on a ground out to second.
Buchanan regained control until the bottom of the fifth, when he gave up a single to Span. Buchanan successfully struck out Rendon and Werth before intentionally walking LaRoche to pitch to the newly returned Zimmerman. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Zimmerman chose that moment to hit his second double of the night, bringing home Span to make it 4-0 Nationals.
In the sixth, the Nats continued to unravel what little mystery remained in Buchanan’s glove. Ian Desmond led off the inning with a homer to left before Span singled with two outs. In the next at-bat, Rendon homered to right center to bring the Nats to their final lead of seven runs.
Zimmermann went on to close out eight innings, allowing just five hits, and a walk on four strikeouts over 102 total pitches. Tyler Clippard took the mound in the ninth to toss one inning of one-hit, one-walk baseball.
The Phillies’ loss marked their fourth straight – and their eighth shutout loss this season.
Buchanan ended the night having tossed six innings of 10-hit, seven-run baseball over 112 total pitches thrown.