Plan Z Unsuccessful...
The Washington Nationals turned to (2-0) rookie righty Jordan Zimmermann in an attempt to avoid losing the 17th of 22 games they've played this season, but not even Zimmermann's mid-90's heat could hold St. Louis' perennial NL MVP candidate Albert Pujols in the park, as Pujols pounded Nationals' pitching, collecting his 5th double, 9th home run and 29th RBI of 2009 in the Cards' 6-2 win over Washington in Nationals Park.
Zimmermann vs Pujols - First Inning...
Zimmermann started Albert Pujols with three straight 93-94 mph heaters outside in the reigning NL MVP's first AB tonight, which came with two down in the first. Pujols was swinging 3-0, though he came up empty on a 95 mph knee-high strike on the outside edge. Zimmermann's 3-1 pitch is up in the zone, and as impressive as it is at 95 miles an hour coming in, Pujols deposits it so far back in left it almost clears the seats, landing three rows from the concourse and the Matrix-statues behind center field. 1-0 Cardinals early. Zimmermann gives up a double to Pujols in their second meeting in the fourth, and Chris Duncan follows with a HR to right for a 4-0 Cardinals' lead. After Albert Pujols singles to start the sixth, Zimmermann gets Duncan, but Ryan Ludwick allows Pujols to trot home with a two-run blast to center that ends up in the patch of grass next to the batter's eye. 6-0 Cardinals...
Zimmermann's done after:
Zimmerman, Jordan - (L, 2-1) 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's, 3 HR, 101 pitches, 71 strikes.
Nationals Can't Solve Todd Wellemeyer...
Todd Wellemeyer held the Nationals scoreless through six innings, before TAWH (The Amazing Willie Harris) took the Cards' 30-year-old righty deep for Harris' first HR of the season. 7 groundouts, 11 fly ball outs, and 3 K's for Wellemeyer, who throws 109 mediocre pitches and somehow manages to avoid letting any Nationals cross the plate until his final inning on the mound...
• Cristian Guzman is still hitting .383 this season in spite of his being hitless in 9 at bats this series and having just 1 hit in 15 AB's overall since he came back from an injury on April 29th.
• Mr. 20! Ryan Zimmerman extended his hit streak to 20 games with a two-out single in the fourth and he ends the day 2 for 4 with a .298 AVG.
• Nick Johnson is 2 for 3 in the Two-Spot, now hitting .350 on the season.
For The Completists, Full Game Report (currently unedited) After The Jump...
Nationals now 5-17.
St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals. Game 22 of 162.
0-2 bender inside to Skip Schumaker and Jordan Zimmerman induces a grounder from the Cards’ leadoff hitter. Joe Thurston can’t hold up when an 0-2 bender drops off the table. Jordan Zimmermann leaves a 3-1 fastball up to Albert Pujols who jacks it to left and almost over the stands. 1-0 Cardinals. Chris Duncan pops one to short left just out of Cristian Guzman’s reach. Elijah Dukes takes a few steps in and catches the final out of the inning off Ryan Ludwick’s bat...Cristian Guzman pops out to Duncan in left for the first out. Nick “Two-Spot” Johnson has a Discerning Eye, and he uses it to draw a one-out walk. Ryan “Double Play” Zimmerman grounds to Tyler Greene to Skip Schumaker to a lunging Albert Pujols who makes the play at first. Cards’ starter Todd Wellemeyer’s through the first.
Rick Ankiel grounds weakly to Nick Johnson at first. Yadier, one of the “Catching Molina Brothers”, lines into a leaping Guzman’s outstretched glove. Tyler Greene tips a 95 mph fastball into Jesus Flores’ mitt...Adam Dunn walks to start the DC second. Rick Ankiel dives in on an Elijah Dukes’ liner for the first out. Jesus Flores drops a fly ball in center to put two on for TAWH. Willie Harris pops a 2-1 fastball out to Chris Duncan in left. Anderson Hernandez’s fly hangs up long enough for Duncan to get under it and make the catch.
Jordan Zimmerman thows a two-strike fastball by the opposing pitcher. Skip Schumacker bounces one back to the mound, Zimmermann throws to first. Zimmermann throws a full-count fastball over the plate, Joe Thurston rips a grounder to Nick Johnson, who tosses to the pitcher covering...Jordan Zimmermann chases a two-strike curve out of the zone. Cristian Guzman grounds right back into Todd Wellemeyer’s glove. Nick Johnson sends a knuckler out to right field for another single. Ryan Zimmerman’s line drive single to straight-center gives him hits in 20-straight games. Adam Dunn pops a 1-1 pitch up to the infield.
Jordan Zimmerman starts Albert Pujols with a tight slider inside. Gets stirike two with a fastball that Pujols fouls off, and then gives up a double on a two-strike curve that drops onto the outside edge. Chris Duncan unloads on a 92 mph fastball and gets it just over the out-of-town scoreboard in left. 3-0 Cardinals. Ryan Zimmerman charges on a weak grounder from Ryan Ludwick, and Zimmerman sidearms it to Johnson at first. Zimmermann strikes out Rick Ankiel. Yadier Molina chops an 0-2 pitch straight down and Zimmermann fields and throws a strike to first to end the inning...Elijah Dukes spins a double to left field that bounces toward to corner to let Dukes come in at second standing up...and Dukes hurts his leg turning the base? (ed. note - "He stayed in, seemed fine.) Jesus Flores grounds to short, Dukes breaks for third and gets thrown out by Tyler Greene. Willie Harris grounds to second, Schumaker to Greene, to Pujols, double play.
Tyler Greene stares a full-count slider right over the plate. Todd Wellemeyer uses Zimmermann’s heat to push a liner to right for a single. Skip Schumaker grounds to Cristian Guzman, who shuffles to Anderson Hernandez for the force, but nothing else as Hernandez pockets it. Joe Thurston pushes Elijah Dukes back to the wall in right, where he makes the grab...Anderson Hernandez lifts a low sinker to short center for the first out of the DC fifth. Zimmermann rips a line drive right to Ryan Ludwick. Cristian Guzman rolls the third out of the fifth to second.
Ryan Zimmermann gets up 0-2 on Pujols and ends up giving up a single Zimmermann gets Chris Duncan looking, but Ryan Ludwick takes a high slider for a long ride to center field where it lands on the patch of grass near the batter’s eye. Two-run blast, 5-0 Cardinals. Rick Ankiel rolls a grounder out to Nick Johnson. Yadier Molina singles to center. Logan Kensing comes out of the Duck Pond. Tyler Greene grounds into a force at second, and it’s 5-0 Cards after five and a half...Nick Johnson starts the DC sixth with a pop out to the infield. Ryan Zimmerman pops a 2-2 pitch out to Ludwick in right. Adam Dunn K’s looking to end the sixth.
Todd Wellemeyer flies out to Elijah Dukes. Skip Schumaker inside-outs a one-hopper to Guzman at short. Joe Thurston hits the first HR of his MLB career, jacking a fastball inside out to right and into the bullpen 6-0 St. Louis. Albert Pujols fouls off half-a-dozen 2-2 pitches before finally K’ing swinging over a sinker from Kensing...Elijah Dukes sends Rick Ankiel tracking back into center to catch the first out of the frame. Jesus Flores to deep center, off the wall, Ankiel has it bounce out of his glove, Flores goes in headfirst at third with a triple. Willie Harris works the count full, and rips a sinker to right field and over the wall for a two-run blast off Wellemeyer, 6-2 Cardinals. Anderson Hernandez flies out to center. Alex Cintron gets a pinch hit appearance with two down, and he strikes out chasing a pitch off the plate.
Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera gives up a leadoff double to right and off the wall for Chris Duncan. Ryan Ludwick grounds out to short. Rick Ankiel grounds back to the mound. Rivera gets Yadier Molina swinging over a fastball inside...Jason Motte replaces Wellemeyer. Cristian Guzman grounds out to third. Nick Johnson pops to left, and Tyler Greene and Skip Schumaker let it drop. Single!!! Ryan Zimmerman rips a single through short off Tyler Greene’s glove, Johnson takes third. Adam Dunn swings through a two-strike 96 mph heater. Elijah Dukes takes a cut at a 2-2 bender and pops it up to center.
Joel Hanrahan dispatches Tyler Greene with such confidence it’s unbelievable. Brian Barden swings over a cruel slider from Hanrahan. Skip Schumaker grounds out to Nick Johnson, who tosses to Hanrahan covering...Jesus Flores leads off the Nationals’ ninth against Blaine Boyer. Flores tips strike three into the catcher’s mitt. Willie Harris grounds a curve to second. Anderson Hernandez grounds out to short. Cardinals win, 6-2 final.
Nationals now 5-17.