Game #48: Nats Bats Wake Up

The Nationals returned home from their West Coast swing and saw their offense come alive against their division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, winning 5-2.

Jordan Zimmermann took the mound for the Nats and did what he's done all season, mowing through opposing line-ups deep into the game. While the offense took care of the rest.

The Phillies struck first against Zimmermann when Domonic Brown singled to score Ryan Howard in the top of the second inning. But then it was all Nationals.

The Nats first run came in the third inning. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche all walked against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, loading the bases for Ian Desmond. Desmond hit a sac fly to right field, scoring Harper and advancing Zimmerman to third where he was stranded.

The Phillies briefly took the lead again in the fifth when Zimmermann struggled a bit. Singles by Brown and Freddy Galvis along with a rare wild pitch set up Erik Kratz's sac fly to make it 2-1. Two more singles by Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins loaded the bases with one out, but Zimmermann got Ben Revere to ground into a double play to end the threat.

The Phillies lead was brief though, as the Nationals got that run back and more in the bottom of the fifth. Bryce Harper led off the inning with a single and Ryan Zimmerman hit into a fielder's choice, putting him on first instead. Adam LaRoche then drove a ball deep into center that Revere misplayed into a rare triple for the slow footed first baseman, tying the game.

Ian Desmond struck out on a borderline pitch to make it two outs, but then the wheels fell off for Kendrick. Kurt Suzuki singled in LaRoche to make it 3-2 and Tyler Moore followed that with a swinging bunt single of his own to put runners on first and second.  Then Steve Lombardozzi plugged the gap in right-center for a two-run double making it 5-2 Nationals.

The remaining innings went by with little fanfare. Zimmermann finished his night after seven innings and 92 pitches. He allowed just the two runs on six hits, while striking out one and walking none.

Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect eighth with a strikeout to set-up Rafael Soriano for the save. And Soriano too pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout to seal the win for the Nats.

After the game manager Davey Johnson said that Zimmermann was pitching with a stiff neck, but that didn't seem to have any effect on his performance. The Nationals also designated pitcher Yunesky Maya for assignment, calling up infielder Jeff Kobernus from AAA Syracuse.

The Nationals will look to take the series tomorrow with Dan Haren on the mound facing Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone.

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