Let’s hope that whatever started up the Nats’ offense tonight will stay around for a while.
Jordan Zimmermann had another good start, allowing seven hits and one run through six innings while walking two and striking out two. Despite the good surface numbers, Zimmermann allowed nine baserunners with his seven hits and two walks, and had to work out of quite a few jams, leading him to throw 107 pitches. He allowed a run in the second inning by a Hector Luna RBI double, but shut down the Phillies’ offense from there on out. This shutdown was aided by the ejection of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, hitting .344, in the third for arguing a call with home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom. Tom Gorzelanny threw two shutout innings of relief, and Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect ninth to earn the first save in the post-Henry Rodriguez era. Clippard had been vocal about his desire to close, and his wish was granted tonight. The Nats’ pitching did an especially good job of scattering the Phillies’ offense, as nine of the twelve Phillies who came to bat got hits, but none recorded more than one hit.
On the offensive end, the Nationals took it to Halladay and scored four runs in the third inning, adding another in the fourth. The inning began as Zimmermann and Steve Lombardozzi reached on singles, and both were scored by Harper’s RBI triple. After Chad Tracy, playing and hitting third in place of late scratch Ryan Zimmerman, got out, Adam LaRoche scored Harper on a sacrifice fly before Desmond hit a solo homer to cap off the inning, his eighth of the season. Rick Ankiel led off the next inning with a solo home run to score the fifth Nats run. All told, the Nats tagged Halladay for five runs and nine hits, including two homers, in six innings. Three different Phillies relievers combined to pitch the other three innings, and combined to allow only one hit and strike out six.
Champ of the Game: Zimmermann, who held off the Phillies while pitching and also went 2-3 at the plate.
For the Phillies, the bullpen kept the game within reach.
Chump of the Game: Tracy, who was an offensive hole hitting third, going 0-4 with two strikeouts, including an 0-1 with runners in scoring position.
Halladay allowed the Nats to gain a lead they would never relinquish.
Unsung Hero: Harper, who had a hand in three of the Nats’ runs, and went 2-3 against a former two-time Cy Young award winner.
The relatively unknown Luna plated Philly’s only run before the 8th.
Next Game: Wednesday, 7pm, Nats v. Phillies in Philadelphia. Jackson (1-1, 3.31) v. Hamels (6-1, 2.48)