Jordan Zimmerman threw a two hit, complete game shut out Friday night against the Marlins. Whether he would get a win or not hung in the balance until the sixth inning, when the Nats bats exploded for seven runs. The Nationals won the game with a final score of 8-0 over Miami.
The game was a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings. Miami starter Jacob Turner stymied the Nationals hitters through five, only giving up three hits. He did not get into significant trouble until the sixth inning, when he had to pitch off the stretch for an extended period of time.
Zimmerman through six innings had only given up one hit, a single to Donovan Solano in the top of the sixth. He was carrying a no hitter through five. Jordan only gave up one other hit, a single in the ninth inning. Zimmerman had the look all night of a pitcher who felt that he had command of all of his pitches, throwing with a quick tempo. In my opinion, Jordan is the Nationals pitcher most likely to throw a no hitter or perfect game on any given night, and tonight’s performance was nearly in that category.
The Nats finally got to Turner in the bottom of the sixth inning. Denard Span lead off the inning with a single. Ryan Zimmerman followed with another single, moving Span to third. Up came Jayson Werth, who did not let the RBI opportunity pass him by. Werth doubled to deep left, scoring both Span and Zimmerman. Bryce Harper then got into the act, doubling to right. Werth scored. The Nationals were up 3-0 with no outs. Ian Desmond ground out to short, moving Harper to third. Adam LaRoche walked to put runners on the corners and that was it for Turner.
Marlins reliever Chris Hatcher had no better luck against the Nats order. Next to the plate was Wilson Ramos, who singled, scoring Harper and sending LaRoche to third. Anthony Rendon singled to score LaRoche. With runners on first and second, Jordan Zimmerman tried to bunt the runners forward, but Ramos was thrown out at second. Span came up to bat for the second time in the inning and tripled, scoring Rendon and Zimmerman. Ryan Zimmerman lined out hard to end the inning, and the Nationals were ahead 7-0.
Ian Desmond added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh off reliever Brad Hand. Werth drew a walk, and Desmond doubled to deep center. The ball kicked around in the outfield, and Werth scored from first.
Anthony Rendon not only contributed with his bat, he made two sparkling defensive plays at second while Zimmerman’s no hit bid was still alive, preserving hope for that magical outcome.
Corey Brown played right field in Werth’s place from the eighth inning to give Werth a rest.
Unfortunately for the Nats wild card hopes, the Reds scored three runs in the top of the ninth at Pittsburgh to tie the game, then scored in the bottom of the tenth to pull out a win. Note to all managers–do not pitch to Joey Votto in a tie game in late innings. He will hit a home run against you every time.
Next Game: Saturday, September 21st at Nationals Park starting at 7:05 p.m. EST. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Nationals, as long as his forearm tightness does not bother him tomorrow during warm up. Miami sends Tom Koehler (3-10, 4.51 ERA) to the mound.