After an hour rain delay, the Washington Nationals night started slowly in the first when Hunter Pence crushed an eye-level pitch to center field for a two-run homer.
From then on, Jordan Zimmermann dominated and the offense scored early in the Nationals’ 6-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Zimmermann was everything the team needed after their 10-game win streak came to an end Friday night. He kept the ball down, took advantage of hitters’ aggression early in the at-bat, and controlled his pitch count which allowed him to pitch eight strong innings.
The Nationals offense got contributions from top to bottom in their order and went up 6-2 early in the game, knocking out Tim Lincecum after just two and two-thirds innings pitched.
Denard Span, like he often does in Nationals wins, got it started early with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. After an Anthony Rendon walk, Jayson Werth singled to score Span and advance Rendon all the way to third. Adam LaRoche followed with a 4-6-3 double play ball, but it was still enough to score Rendon and tie the game.
In the second, Asdrubal Cabrera reached on a one-out walk. Zimmermann moved him over with a sac bunt, and Span ripped an RBI single to center. The Giants would go on to score Span with a pass ball, and a Pablo Sandoval throwing error.
Werth furthered the damage with an RBI single giving the Nationals a 5-2 lead.
In the third, Asdrubal crushed a 2-0 fastball from Lincecum to the Red Porch for his second homer as a National. Zimmermann then lined a double down the third base line ending Lincecum’s outing.
This was the second time in Lincecum’s career that he failed to make it through four innings at Nationals Park as he gave up eight runs in three and a third innings in July of 2012.
Zimmermann turned out to be the last base runner the Nationals would have on the afternoon as Yusmeiro Petit quieted the Nats bats in his four and a third innings on the mound, but the damage was already done.
Zimmermann did not allow a runner to reach third base after the Pence home run in his eight innings of work.
Matt Thornton came in for the ninth and after allowing two singles, escaped with a scoreless inning.
With the win the Nationals move back to 20 games over .500 and 8-1 on the current homestand. They will look to win the series on Sunday as they send Stephen Strasburg to the mound against Giants righty Ryan Vogelsong.