Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Zimmerman’s Grand Slam Breaks Game Open
With the Nationals up 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, they picked up a string of two out hits against Shields and the Padres’ bullpen. It began when Anthony Rendon got a single on a ball that deflected off Shields. San Diego manager Pat Murphy would go to the left-hander, Marc Rzepczynski, to face Harper.
During that at-bat, Harper hit a 2-1 pitch to first base that should have been the final out of the inning, but the home plate umpire (David Rackley) ruled that the ball hit Harper before it reached first. Harper would draw a walk to extend the inning. Murphy would end up being ejected one inning later.
Later in the inning, Yunel Escobar would follow that at-bat up with a walk of his own to load the bases against Bud Norris. Ryan Zimmerman would then come to the plate and hit a 2-0 fastball over the scoreboard in right for a grand slam.
While it has taken some time for guys like Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth to get on track offensively, the Nats’ first baseman has been able to be the most productive player on the team in terms of driving in runs. In 23 games this month, Zimmerman has hit four home runs (tied for the team lead) and has a team high 18 RBI’s. His .368 on-base percentage this month is fourth on the team as well.
Last night, he was hitting sixth in the lineup with Escobar hitting behind Bryce Harper. With all of the regulars now back in the lineup, having a guy like Zimmerman in the number six spot makes this lineup dangerous. In fact, the 6-7-8 combo of Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, and Wilson Ramos went a combined 4-for-12 with two runs scored, two home runs, and seven RBI’s.