October 18, 2018

Washington Nationals Game 76 Review: Zimmerman’s homer in 16th ends longest game in Nats history

Ryan Zimmerman couldn’t have picked a better time to hit his first home run back from injury.

Zimmerman’s two-run shot in the top of the 16th inning propelled the Washington Nationals to a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers — in the longest game innings-wise in Nats history.

With one out in the 16th, Adam LaRoche slammed a one hopper off the right field wall for a single. Zimmerman then watched two in the dirt before crushing the 2-0 offering over the left field fence off Brewers reliever Mike Fiers.

To add to the act, Zimmerman made a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the inning to help preserve the win, as Rafael Soriano nailed down his 18th save of the season.

The Nats jumped on top of Yovanni Gallardo and the Brewers in the first inning. Denard Span led off with a single, stole second and went to third on Anthony Rendon’s infield single. Span then scored on Jayson Werth’s routine ground out.

Jordan Zimmermann ran into trouble in the fourth but escaped any damage with a big strikeout of Khris Davis to end the inning. But the Brewers took the lead in the fifth, as Ryan Braun delivered a two-out, two-run ground ball single just out of the reach of shortstop Ian Desmond.

Zimmermann grinded out six innings and allowed just the two earned runs on six hits and two walks, striking out nine along the way.

Rendon (3-for-5)  tied it in the eighth with his 12th home run of the year, a blast that narrowly avoided Carlos Gomez’ leap at the fence in right center field.

The teams traded zeros in extras but it was not without some tension.

In the bottom of the 13th, the Brewers got a runner to third with two outs. Manager Matt Williams instructed Ross Detwiler to walk Jonathan Lucroy intentionally to face Carlos Gomez. Detwiler was able to retire Gomez with a  soft line drive to short to end the inning.

Detwiler, much maligned this season, gave the Nats four scoreless innings of relief in extra innings, allowing just two hits and a walk.

In the top of the 14th, back-to-back singles by Zimmerman and Desmond gave the Nats life with one out, but Danny Espinosa and Jose Lobaton couldn’t get the job done.

Then in the bottom of the inning, with Drew Storen on the hill, Denard Span and Jayson Werth both made impressive gave-saving catches with a man on first.

  • Zimmermann, a Wisconsin native, pitched before dozens of friends and family.
  • Bryce Harper hit a mammoth home run in Potomac in his second appearance of his rehab assignment, and proclaimed no problems with his hand after the game. Wilson Ramos caught all nine innings. “I’m ready to rejoin the team and help them win games,” Ramos said after the game. He said he would fly to Chicago Wednesday to be ready to play Thursday.
  • The Nats continued to run against Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Denard Span, Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon all had stolen bases. Span’s steal set up the Nats’ first run of the game in the first inning.
  • Jerry Blevins, Aaron Barrett and Craig Stammen all provided a scoreless inning of relief, though Blevins and Barrett both walked their first batters.
About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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