The Washington Nationals (65-63) have been looking for the dominant Jordan Zimmermann (11-8, 3.45 ERA) to show up for quite awhile. While Zimmermann did give up seven hits tonight, he only gave up one home run over seven innings. Tonight, in addition to the good starting pitching, the offense delivered three home runs as the Nats defeated the Miami Marlins (52-78), 5-1.
In the bottom of the second inning, Ryan Zimmerman got the scoring started for the Nationals. He led off the inning against Marlins’ starter, Tom Koehler (8-13, 4.12), by hitting a solo shot to left center. Zimmerman’s 12th home run of the season put the Nats in front, 1-0. The Washington first baseman has driven in 11 runs over his last six games.
During the following inning, Danny Espinosa and Zimmermann started it off with back-to-back bunt hits. Two batters later, with Espinosa on third after a Werth double play, Anthony Rendon singled to right to drive in Espinosa and increased the lead to 2-0.
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Three innings later, the Nationals would break the game open with a pair of home runs. With Rendon on first and two outs, Clint Robinson (who got the start in left field tonight) hit a two-run shot to left center, his sixth of the season, to double the lead to 4-0.
Ian Desmond would follow up Robinson’s home run with his 17th of the season, a solo shot to center, to increase the lead to 5-0. As for Koehler, he went six innings for the Marlins, gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out four, did not walk a batter, and gave up three home runs in the loss.
Jordan Zimmermann was able to keep the Marlins off the board for the first six innings. Then, in the top of the seventh, Justin Bour led off the inning with a solo shot to right center. His 13th of the season cut the Nats’ lead to 5-1. Zimmermann would retire the next three batters he faced to end his night. He went seven innings, gave up one run on seven hits, struck out four, and walked one on 106 pitches (72 strikes) in the win.
Matt Thornton and Jonathan Papelbon would follow up Zimmermann’s strong outing by throwing perfect innings in the eighth and ninth innings respectively. With the Nats’ win and the Mets’ loss to the Red Sox earlier today, the Nats cut their deficit in the NL East to 5.5 games.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals will play the rubber game of their three game series against the Miami Marlins tomorrow afternoon at Nats Park. You can catch the game at 1:35 PM ET on MASN. Stephen Strasburg (8-6, 4.14) gets the start for the Nats against Brad Hand (4-3, 4.23) for the Marlins.