Game #23 Recap: Zimmermann Gem Puts Nats Past Reds
The Nationals rode an outstanding complete game shutout from starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to squeeze past the Cincinnati Reds in a 1-0 victory Friday night at Nationals Park. Zimmermann twirled nine dazzling innings and was near-perfect while notching his fourth win of the season.
Zimmermann needed only 91 pitches in the effort and allowed one hit and one walk in the entire game while striking out for.
The Nationals met a worthy adversary in Cincinatti Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey, who threw seven strong innings and allowed the game's only run. From early on, the contest had the look of an old fashioned pitcher’s duel.
Through the first three innings, each starter allowed only one baserunner. Bailey struck out five Nationals through the first three while Zimmermann trailed closely behind with two strikeouts of his own.
Zimmermann allowed the Reds only hit of the game in the third inning on a line drive single to centerfield of the bat of left fielder Xavier Paul. Zimmermann would not allow another hit.
The Nats would score the game’s first and only run in the fourth inning. With one out, left field phenom Bryce Harper worked a full count and ripped a changeup down the right field line. Harper was thinking triple right out of the box, and seconds later he was sliding into the third base bag with his first triple of the season - the 10th of his young career.
Jayson Werth, freshly moved into the cleanup spot, singled to right field two pitches later - easily scoring Harper and making the score 1-0.
Both pitchers would cruise for the rest of the game. Bailey would be lifted from the game after the seventh inning in favor of reliever Jonathan Broxton.
Other than a walk in the eighth inning to Reds catcher Corky Miller, Zimmermann would dominate the rest of the Reds lineup, not allowing another baserunner.
Although the Nats offense didn’t blow out the Reds tonight, there are many encouraging signs that things are starting to go Washington’s way.
Speedy center fielder Denard Span benefited from a blown call in the sixth inning when he was called safe stealing second base. Replays would show Span was out, but for seemingly the first time this season, the Nats benefited from the blown call.
Washington was also helped in the seventh inning by a comebacker up the middle that deflected off Zimmermann. Rather than dropping into center field for a single, the ball bounced off Zim’s left arm and careened towards shortstop Ian Desmond’s glove. Desi immediately fielded the ball and threw a bullet to first base for the out.
Tonight’s win held many encouraging signs for Washington. The Nats have won two games in a row against Cincinnati, a team that is predicted to be potential competition for the Nationals in the playoffs.