Jordan Zimmermann is staying away from any discussion about whether he should be part of the NL All-Star team, let alone the starting pitcher. That’s fine. His numbers are doing the talking for him.
Zimmermann dominated after a shaky start and rookie Anthony Rendon had his third three-hit performance as the Washington Nationals defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Wednesday night.
After surrendering two runs in the first inning, Zimmermann (11-3) held the Diamondbacks scoreless with one hit over his final six innings. He allowed three hits overall, retired the final 10 batters he faced and improved to 13-0 at home dating back to May 17, 2012.
The right-hander is tied for the major league lead in wins with Detroit’s Max Scherzer. In 16 starts, Zimmermann sports a 2.28 ERA.
”It means a lot,” Zimmermann said about notching his 11th victory. ”These guys have given me great run support all year. I’m pitching pretty well, too.”
The NL West-leading Diamondbacks have lost three straight, including the first two games of their current 10-game road trip.
Wade Miley (4-7) allowed three runs, including an unearned run in the fifth. Denard Span scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s double play after Tyler Moore’s solo homer in the fourth tied the game.
Zimmermann struck out four and issued two walks, raising his season total of base on balls to a minuscule 17 in 114 2-3 innings.
Arizona’s only hit against the Nationals’ starter after the first inning was Jason Kubel’s two-out single in the fourth.
”He got rolling,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ”Got all of his pitches over, put them where he wanted to. We had some borderline balls that we swung at when he got ahead.”
Tyler Clippard worked the eighth and Rafael Soriano closed out the ninth for his 21st save.
Soriano allowed a one-out single and issued an intentional walk, but A.J. Pollock’s popup ended the game.
The Diamondbacks worked Zimmermann hard early, forcing him to throw 28 pitches in the first inning.
”I just didn’t feel very good in the first couple of innings,” said Zimmermann, who has made 20 starts since his last home loss. ”I knew I had to have some quick innings. After that and I was able to get a few and get it back to manageable pitches and go seven.”
As for possibly playing in the midsummer classic on July 16, Zimmermann said, ”I’m not thinking about that until it comes out and then I’ll talk to you guys about it.”
Rendon had two singles and double in his first three at-bats before a flyout to the wall in the eighth inning. Since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on June 4, he has multihit performances in 10 of 18 games and is batting .392 (29 for 74).
Groomed as a third baseman, Rendon is making the transition to second on the big league level, but it’s the batter’s box where he is most at-ease.
”That’s where I feel the most comfortable,” Rendon said. ”That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I like to hit.”
Miley pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out four. Arizona’ starting pitchers are 0-7 since June 5.
”Felt good, got in a rhythm a little bit,” said Miley, now 0-2 in his last four starts. ”Made some mistakes early and they capitalized on it.”
Span singled off Miley leading off the fifth, advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on Rendon’s third hit and crossed home on Zimmerman’s double play.
After picking up hits in his final three at-bats on Tuesday, Paul Goldschmidt doubled in his first plate appearance against Zimmermann, scoring Aaron Hill from first base after a walk. Martin Prado’s two-out single plated Goldschmidt and staked Miley to a 2-0 lead in the first before the crowd of 31,172.
Zimmerman hit an RBI double in the bottom half. Washington’s third baseman returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Tuesday’s series opening win due to discomfort in his surgically repaired right shoulder.
NOTES: Playing in the second game of a rehab assignment at Single-A Potomac, Washington OF Bryce Harper went 1 for 3 with a home run. …. Entering as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, Diamondbacks INF Willie Bloomquist injured his left hand after getting hit on a pitch from Clippard. Gibson said the hand immediately swelled and that X-rays were taken after the game. … Arizona fell to 17-11 in one-run games. … Moore played in his first game since being activated from the DL on Tuesday. … Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he hopes injured catcher Wilson Ramos (left hamstring) can return to the active roster by July 4. Ramos has been on the DL since April 14. … Arizona LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28) faces RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.40) in Thursday’s series finale.