After losing two out of three games to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, the Washington Nationals (68-65) returned home to begin a four game series against the Atlanta Braves (54-80). The Nats had an opportunity to gain a half game on the Mets with New York being off and they took full advantage of it as they are now six games back in the NL East. The offense scored runs in five of the first six innings and Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.38 ERA) held Atlanta’s offense to a run on two hits in a 15-1 blowout win.
The Nationals put up two runs in the bottom of the first inning with two outs. After a walk by Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman doubled to right to put two runners in scoring position. Then, Clint Robinson hit a two run single to center against Matt Wisler (5-6, 5.97) to put the Nats in front, 2-0.
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The Braves would get on the board in the top of second when Hector Olivera hit a groundout to short that drove in Nick Swisher. But, Washington would answer right back with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Ian Desmond would lead off the inning with a double and would end up scoring on a Wilson Ramos double to give the Nats a 3-1 lead.
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Bryce Harper drew one of his four walks on the night to drive in Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmerman would drive in Jayson Werth with a sacrifice fly to center. With Wisler out of the game two batters later, Yunel Escobar hit a two-run single to left against Sugar Ray Marimon to put Washington up 7-1. It was a rough night for Wisler as he gave up seven runs on five hits, walked three, and struck out one in 1.2 innings.
The scoring would not stop there as the Nats scored three more in the third. With the bases loaded and two outs against Andrew McKirahan, Zimmerman drove in two runs with a base hit to right. Then, Clint Robinson had his second RBI single of the night to put the Nats in double figures in the run column before the third inning was over.
Zimmerman would pick up the scoring two innings later when he hit a double to left against former Nats’ pitcher Ross Detwiler that scored Harper from first. The Nats’ first baseman went 3-for-3 tonight with two runs scored and four RBI’s. Wilson Ramos would hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded four batters later to extend the lead to 12-1.
The 12 runs would be plenty for Jordan Zimmermann as he went six innings, gave up one run on two hits, struck out five, and walked four on 87 pitches (53 strikes) for his fourth straight win. After Zimmermann’s night was over, Sammy Solis and Rafael Martin pitched the final three innings. The duo gave up no runs on no hits, walked two (both by Solis), and struck out six.
The sixth inning started when Tyler Moore led off with a double to center. Moore was activated off the disabled list earlier today along with A.J. Cole being called up from triple-A Syracuse. Moore would come around to score when Robinson drove in his fourth run of the game with a sac fly to center against Danny Burawa to put Washington up 13-1. The lead would go to 14-1 when Escobar drove in Anthony Rendon for his third RBI.
Every hitter in the Nationals’ lineup had at least one hit, except for Harper. Even though Harper didn’t get a hit, he walked four times and scored four runs, putting him in some elusive company:
In the seventh inning, Trea Turner picked up the first hit of his career when he hit an infield single to second base. Turner had subbed in for Ian Desmond during the top half of the inning. With the Nats up by a wide margin, it allowed the team to give Werth, Harper, Zimmerman, and Desmond some much needed rest. One inning later, the scoring would conclude when Danny Espinosa hit a solo shot to left, his 13th of the season, to put the Nats ahead 15-1.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals will continue their series with the Atlanta Braves tomorrow night at 7:05 PM ET at Nats Park. You can catch the game on MASN. Tanner Roark (4-4, 4.54) will get the start in place of Stephen Strasburg and he will face Julio Teheran (9-7, 4.62) for the Braves.