Nationals 2, Rockies 0
For the first time in his big league career, Ryan Zimmerman is
on a team that heads into the All-Star break with a .500
He even coined a new term, calling the 46-46 mark for his
Washington Nationals at this point of the season a
Jordan Zimmermann took a shutout into the seventh inning, Roger
Bernadina and Rick Ankiel provided the offense, and Washington beat
the Colorado Rockies 2-0 Sunday to get to the Midsummer Classic at
.500 for the first time since 2005.
”Being at .500 is by no means acceptable, but I don’t think
we’ve been at .500 at the break for a while,” said Zimmerman, who
became a regular in the majors in 2006. ”So I guess it’s kind of a
mini-accomplishment, but we’re not by any means happy with it. We
know we have a good team here, and we want to win this year.”
Washington was 52-36 at the All-Star break in 2005, the team’s
first year in the nation’s capital after moving from Montreal, but
finished that season 81-81.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson was asked whether that
break-even record holds significance for an organization that
finished with more than 100 losses in both 2008 and 2009.
”Not to me, it doesn’t,” Johnson said. ”It’s how many you get
over .500 that counts.”
Sunday’s result amounted to a rout for the Nationals, whose
previous 10 victories had come by either one run or in extra
innings. They ended a three-game losing streak, too – and each of
those defeats were by a single run.
”They’re fun when they’re hotly contested on both sides,”
Johnson said. ”Every matchup is important.”
Zimmermann (6-7) went 6 1-3 innings, allowing four singles. He
also struck out six and didn’t walk anyone, continuing his
impressive return from reconstructive elbow surgery.
”My slider was probably the best it’s ever been,” said
Zimmermann, who didn’t allow a run for the third time in his past
six starts. ”I felt like I could throw it whenever and where I
He used that sweeping pitch to strike out Mark Ellis, the second
batter of the game.
”That was disgusting,” said Nationals closer Drew Storen, who
worked around a double in the ninth inning for his 23rd save in 26
”If you’ve got a guy who can throw his fastball wherever he
wants it, when he’s throwing that hard, and the slider and breaking
ball he’s got, he’s going to be tough to hit,” said Ellis, who was
0 for 4.
Still, Zimmermann nearly was matched by Colorado’s Jhoulys
Chacin (8-7), who gave up one run and four hits in seven
Said Ellis: ”You just hate to waste a pitching performance like
we had today.”
Bernadina hit a broken-bat RBI single in the sixth, while Ankiel
hit his third homer of the season, off reliever Matt Reynolds in
”That second run was sure sweet,” Johnson said. ”I felt a lot
Zimmermann has pitched at least six innings in 13 consecutive
outings, but because the Nationals have him on a restricted innings
count this season – and because the temperature was 88 degrees at
the start on a muggy afternoon – Johnson removed the righty after
”I’m sure everybody in the stands thought I gave him a quick
hook. Probably was,” Johnson said. ”But I do that a lot.”
It probably did not hurt Zimmermann that Rockies manager Jim
Tracy held three starting position players out of the lineup so
they’d get an extended rest because of the midseason break that
begins Monday: Carlos Gonzalez, who recently missed four games with
a bruised right wrist; Ty Wigginton and Chris Iannetta.
”We’re obviously very hopeful that we’ll be ready to completely
rock ‘n’ roll by next Thursday,” Tracy said, referring to
Colorado’s next game.
The Rockies fell to 43-48; they were above .500 at this point of
each of the last two seasons.
Now the Nationals finally get to feel what that’s like
”We started off pretty slow this year, and now we got back to
.500,” Zimmermann said, ”and I think we’ve got good momentum
going into the second half.”
NOTES: Rockies 3B Stewart made a nice catch on Wilson Ramos’
foul pop leading off the third, leaning over – and nearly tumbling
over – the railing in front of the visitors’ dugout. … Nationals
RHP Tyler Clippard said Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki offered to give
him a lift on a plane to Arizona for the Midsummer Classic. …
Gonzalez came in to play center field as part of a double switch in
the eighth inning. … Colorado OF Charlie Blackmon, who was placed
on the disabled list Friday, will undergo surgery Monday to implant
a pin in his broken left foot.