Jul 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Ryan Zimmerman (11) hits a RBI single in the eight inning against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated Chicago Cubs 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
With two outs in the bottom of the eight inning, Zimmermann broke a 1-1 tie with a sharp single to left field that scored Denard Span from second, giving the Nationals a 2-1 lead. The clutch RBI capped a strong series for Zimmerman who batted .500 while driving in four runs.
While the third baseman secured the win for the Nationals late in the game, it all started with another dominant performance from Zimmermann. The Nationals’ right-hander held the Cubs to seven hits over six scoreless innings of work while striking out five. Zimmerman has not allowed more than two runs in his last seven starts and has a 2.28 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, Cubs starter Jake Arrieta was just as good as Zimmermann. After the Nationals scored 13 runs on Saturday, Arrieta held the offense to just one run on four hits over six innings of work.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI groundout by Jayson Werth. Thanks to Zimmermann, the Nationals kept that one-run lead into the late innings, but the Cubs scored the tying run in the seventh inning against Nationals reliever Drew Storen. The game remained tied until Zimmerman’s single in the eighth, and closer Rafael Soriano shut down the Cubs in the ninth, securing a win for the Nationals and earning his 21st save of the season.
With Sunday’s win, the Nationals are now a half game behind the Braves in the National League East with a record of 48-39.
Next game: The Nationals host the Baltimore Orioles Monday in the season’s first edition of the Battle of the Beltway. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.53) will face off against Orioles starter Chris Tillman (7-4, 4.21) as the Nationals go for their third straight win in the first game of a four-game set.