Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 1
Washington manager Jim Riggleman calls Jordan Zimmermann’s
return from reconstructive elbow surgery a work in progress.
The way the right-hander’s been pitching over the past month,
he’s got to be pretty close to being all the way back.
Zimmermann pitched seven impressive innings in his sixth
straight solid start and Wilson Ramos helped give him an early
three-run cushion, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 6-1 win
over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night.
”I’ve felt good the whole season and I’ve just been stringing
some good starts together,” said Zimmermann, who had Tommy John
surgery in 2009. ”Hopefully, it continues.”
Washington roughed up Arizona starter Zach Duke (1-1) in the
first inning and had 13 hits to open an 11-game road trip with its
first win in six tries away from Nationals Park.
Ramos matched a career high with three RBIs, Michael Morse had
four hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and drove in
two, and Drew Storen got four outs for his 11th save in 12
Zimmermann (3-6) was the beneficiary after a frustrating run,
allowing six hits to win for the first time in five starts despite
allowing three earned runs or less in each.
”I’m happy for him and what he’s done for our ballclub, coming
from where he did after that surgery and everything, to just keep
coming back from it,” Riggleman said. ”He’s just a horse.”
Washington’s horse put an end to Arizona’s comeback ride.
The Diamondbacks had won eight straight one-run games after
losing six in a row, the latest coming Wednesday night, when they
rallied from a four-run deficit and beat Florida on a game-ending
Arizona couldn’t complete another D-back comeback against the
Nationals, unable to get many chances against Zimmermann while
going hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.
”We didn’t play very good,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson
said. ”Not a lot went right for us.”
Zimmermann was solid his last outing, giving up two runs in six
innings against San Diego, only to be pegged with the loss after
the Nationals managed just one run. He had the Diamondbacks off
balance most of the night by keeping the ball down, working around
a handful of baserunners over the first six innings without much
He got some defensive help, too.
Second baseman Danny Espinosa made a diving stop in the outfield
grass to rob Miguel Montero of a hit in the fifth inning, then
first baseman Morse made a pair of hit-robbing plays in the
seventh, ranging left to get a ball by Gerardo Parra and right to
snare one along the line by Juan Miranda that scored Arizona’s only
”Mike Morse saved me big time at first with a couple of diving
plays,” said Zimmermann, who also chopped out a pair of singles at
Duke was stellar in his debut after missing the first two months
with a broken hand, throwing seven shutout innings and hitting a
three-run homer. That, according to information provided to the
Diamondbacks by the Elias Sports Bureau, makes him one of two
players – along with Colorado’s Jason Jennings in 2001 – since 1900
to throw seven or more scoreless innings and hit a homer in his
first with a team.
Duke’s encore didn’t go so well.
Washington scored three runs off the left-hander in the first
inning, one on Morse’s hard single up the middle and two more on a
double by Ramos that hit high on the extended wall in center. Duke
managed to scrape through traffic over the next few innings before
giving up another run in the fifth on a fielder’s choice by Ramos
that made it 4-0.
Duke was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom half after
allowing four runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts.
”I wasn’t able to command the fastball the way I wanted to,”
Duke said. ”It caused me to get into hitter’s counts and throw a
lot more pitches and more damage was done.”
Washington added a pair of cushion runs in the ninth inning off
Aaron Heilman, on Roger Bernadina’s run-scoring triple and a bloop
single by Morse.
Notes: Ramos’ double in the first inning was just his fourth hit
in 27 at-bats over nine games. … Arizona’s Kelly Johnson was 0
for 3 with three strikeouts to end an eight-game hitting streak.
… Arizona signed RHP Yhency Brazoban to a minor league contract
on Thursday. He will report to Triple-A Reno.