Zimmermann Silences Twins Bats
Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven scoreless innings to get his ninth win, tying him for most in the majors, and the Washington Nationals' bats showed some rare signs on life Sunday in a 7-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
The Nationals, who hadn't scored more than three runs for seven straight games, managed to get five across in one inning as they broke a two-game losing streak and moved within one game of .500.
Zimmermann (9-3) did the rest, allowing only two hits while striking out eight with a season-high 111 pitches. His ERA dropped to 2.00, and he's tied with Boston's Clay Buchholz, Arizona's Patrick Corbin and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright atop the wins list.
Ian Desmond got three hits and two RBIs to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Anthony Rendon had two hits and three RBIs, and the Nationals were an uncharacteristic 5 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Washington scored a pair in the fourth and sent 10 hitters to the plate in a five-run fifth that chased Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (4-5).
The Nationals fielded an unorthodox lineup, putting a pair of second basemen in the outfield - Jeff Kobernus in center, Steve Lombardozzi in left - and a natural third baseman, Rendon, at second. Rendon fluffed a routine popup in the third inning, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made yet another error - his 11th of the season - when he pulled first baseman Adam LaRoche off the bag in the fifth.
Regular center field Denard Span missed the game after fouling a pitch off his right foot in Saturday's 11-inning loss, and usual left fielder Bryce Harper is on the disabled list with a sore knee and was en route for his Monday appointment with renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews.
Nevertheless, manager Davey Johnson's starting nine got the job done, with a little help from the Twins. The two runs in the fourth came with two outs when Rendon hit a sharp grounder to shortstop with men on second and third. Pedro Florimon made a new diving stop, but first baseman Justin Morneau failed to come off the bag to field the late, off-target throw, allowing both runners to score.
The fifth inning included three walks - one intentional - and two wild pitches, supplementing doubles by Zimmerman and Rendon and singles by LaRoche and Desmond.
Diamond lasted 4 2-3 innings, allowing 10 hits and seven runs, including six earned.
NOTES: Twins RHP Ryan Pressley left the game with one out in the seventh with a sore right triceps. ... Zimmermann is 11-0 in his lasts 18 starts at Nationals Park. He hasn't lost at home in over a year - May 17, 2012, vs. Pittsburgh. ... Kobernus made his first major league start and got his first career hit, an infield single in the third, but he was doubled off first on Lombardozzi's flyout to center. ... Minnesota's Clete Thomas started in LF for the first time this season and threw out Jayson Werth in the fourth inning when Werth tried to score on a single by Desmond. ... The Twins recalled OF Chris Colabello from Triple-A Rochester as their 26th man for the doubleheader, while the Nationals recalled 1B-OF Chris Marrero from Triple-A Syracuse. Colabello struck out as a pinch hitter, and Marrero grounded out as a pinch hitter then stayed in the game at first base. ... Minnesota's Samuel Deduno (2-1) was scheduled to face Washington's Nate Karns (0-1) in the nightcap. ... The doubleheader was scheduled after Friday's series opener was rained out.
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