Washington picked up right where they had left off when baseball resumed last night and earned their 50th win on the season, defeating the Miami Marlins 5-1 behind a 3 for 4 day by Ryan Zimmerman and yet another strong outing from Jordan Zimmermann.
The NL East leaders at the break took advantage of the extra time off, particularly Zimmerman who’s been battling through a shoulder injury for most of the season. He had been just 3 for his last 16 entering the break, despite swinging the bat much better since receiving a cortisone shot in the shoulder in June. He matched that total last night, including a 3rd inning home run off of Marlins starter Josh Johnson with Bryce Harper on base that made it a 3-0 game.
The Nationals had started the game off quickly, with Harper’s hustle on the bases. With one out in the 1st he dropped a single into left center. When Logan Morrison failed to field the ball cleanly, Harper made it all the way to second before the ball returned to the infield. Then, after Zimmerman flew out to center in his first at bat, Harper caught the defense sleeping, stealing third without a play.
Ian Desmond got the scoring started in the 2nd, driving in Adam LaRoche with a single to left. He’d later score a run of his own in the 6th, when Jesus Flores drove in a pair to put Washington up 5-0.
Meanwhile Zimmermann (6-6) was cruising. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and one walk, while striking out six. He lowered his season ERA to 2.48 and is just one of two pitchers across Major League Baseball to throw at least six innings in each of his starts this season (per ESPN).
Miami picked up their lone run in the 7th off of Henry Rodriguez. John Buck drove in Justin Ruggiano with a single to right. Mike Gonzalez, Ryan Mattheus, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Clippard all followed and finished out the game allowing just two hits between them.
Johnson had been great over his career against the Nationals, going 8-0 over 15 career starts. But the Nationals lit him up for 11 hits and 5 runs over 5.1 innings of work. He dropped to 5-6 on the year.
Champ of the Game: Zimmerman and LaRoche each went 3 for 4. Zimmerman drove in two and LaRoche scored two. So take your pick there. Zimmermann looked impressive on the mound again as well, so he’s in this conversation.
Chump of the Game: Michael Morse went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Rodriguez, however, allowed one hit and two walks in allowing Miami’s lone run, while getting just one out.