July 25, 2014

Washington Nationals Game 77 Review: Zimmermann dominates again in win over Arizona

What more can be said about Jordan Zimmermann that we have been saying all season long?

The stoic right-hander threw another gem, leading the Washington Nationals to their fifth win in seven games, a 3-2 decision over the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday evening, before 31,172 at Nationals Park. The win moved the Nats to within 5 1/2 games of division-leading Atlanta, pending the result of their game against Kansas City.

Zimmermann was, again, exceptional.  He raised his record to an N.L. best 11-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.28, limiting the D-backs to two runs on three hits and two walks over seven innings. After a somewhat shaky first inning, he gave up just one hit and one walk over his final six frames.

The Diamondbacks only damage of the night against Zimmermann came right in the first inning. With one out, Aaron Hill drew a walk after a 12-pitch at bat and scored when the next batter, Paul Goldschmidt, laced a double to right field, maybe taking a little advantage of Jayson Werth’s still-tender groin. Zimmermann got Miguel Montero to fly out, but Martin Prado singled to right to plate Goldschmidt.

The Nats (39-38) got one back in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Rendon (3-for-4, run) singled and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s RBI double to cut the lead to 2-1 after one inning.

Both starters settled in for several innings, but the Nats eventually got to D-back starter Wade Miley (7 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). In the fourth, recently recalled Tyler Moore jumped on a fastball and lined shot to left center for his third home run of the season. Then in the fifth, Denard Span led off with a single, took second on a passed ball, and moved up to third on Rendon’s second hit of the night. Zimmerman hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Span scored to give the Nats a 3-2 lead.

Tyler Clippard (H, 12) pitched a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout and Rafael Soriano gave up a hit and a walk, but earned his 21st save of the season.

THE GOOD: Zimmermann, obviously. But Rendon’s three-hit night raises hit slash line to .354/.402.485.

THE BAD: Jayson Werth. 0-for-4, 2 Ks, 4 LOB and some very tentative defense in right field.

THE UGLY: We’ll give Ugly a pass for this evening.

THE STATS: 8 hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. 1-for-7 with RISP, 6 LOB. No errors, one DP.

NEXT GAME: Thursday at 4:05 pm ET against Arizona. Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.40) hosts Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.19).

INJURY UPDATE: Bryce Harper made his second rehab appearance for the Potomac Nationals. He played five innings at DH and went 1-for-3 with a home run.

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