CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 12: Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 12, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
• Latos vs Zimmermann in Great American Ballpark: It took 13 pitches for Cincinnati right-hander Mat Latos to retire the first three batters in order in the opening frame of tonight's game, then two pitches from Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for Reds' leadoff man Zach Cozart to collect the first hit of the night off the Nationals' starter on an opposite field line drive single to right. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa tried to turn a DP in the next AB when Cincinnati outfielder Drew Stubbs grounded softly to short with Cozart running, but a glove flip to second arrived late as did Espinosa's throw to first and there were two runners on with no one out. A Joey Votto grounder to first moved both Reds' runners into scoring position against the Nats' right-hander, and a Brandon Phillips groundout brought the first run of the game in. A single, a fielder's choice on which both runners were safe and two groundouts, 1-0 Reds. A called strike three on a full-count curve to Reds' outfielder Jay Bruce ends a 23-pitch first for Zimmermann. Bruce doesn't like it...
After scoring the first run of the game, Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart made a backhand play deep in the hole at short and made a strong, spinning sidearm throw to first in time to beat Adam LaRoche to the bag for the first out of what ended up being a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 second by the Cincinnati starter. After Jordan Zimmermann quickly took care of Reds' third baseman Todd Frazier, getting a swinging K with an 0-2 slider, an infield single on a short hop grounder to third that Ryan Zimmerman juggled put a runner on in the bottom of the second before the Nats' right-hander popped Ryan Hanigan up to left and struck the opposing pitcher out to end a 13-pitch second. 46 pitches total on the night for the Nats' right-hander after two.
• Takes and Takes and He Takes: Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos walked with one down in the top of the third, but was stranded at second after a sac bunt by Jordan Zimmermann and an Ian Desmond groundout. 16-pitch third for the Reds' Mat Latos, 1-0 Cincinnati after two and a half. Jordan Zimmermann retook the mound and struck Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart out on three-straight strikes, two sliders and a 93mph 0-2 fastball. Joey Votto reached safely on a two-out broken bat infield single to short on which Ian Desmond had no play, but the Nats' right-hander got Brandon Phillips swinging with a 93 mph 0-2 fastball to end a 14-pitch third.
• Harper Goes 0 for 2: Ryan Zimmerman worked the count full and walked with one down in the fourth, then almost got caught taking too wide a turn around second on a single to left-center by Adam LaRoche. Zimmerman slid back in to second safely (headfirst [cringes]) ahead of a throw in by Ryan Ludwick, so there were two on with one out when Bryce Harper stepped in for his second at bats of the night against Mat Latos. The Reds' right-hander and Harper went to a full-count, but Latos popped the Nats' outfielder up to center with a 92 mph two-seamer to end a seven-pitch AB. Danny Espinosa took a two-out walk to load the bases, but Rick Ankiel K'd chasing a 2-2 fastball into the dirt to leave'em loaded after a 31-pitch frame by Latos, who was at 74 pitches.
• VAMOS RAMOS!!: Jordan Zimmermann added two more K's in the bottom of the fourth, getting Todd Frazier swinging and Ryan Ludwick looking after a lineout to center by Jay Bruce. Zimmermann's 13-pitch 4th had him at 63 pitches after four innings pitched, over which he's K'd seven. Five pitches into the fifth, the Nats' right-hander's catcher tied the game up with a solo HR to straight-center that a leaping Drew Stubbs couldn't quite reach. Just over the wall 404ft+ from home for HR no. 3 on the year for Ramos, and a 1-1 game in the top of the 5th.
• Phillips Robs #BabeRuth!: Jordan Zimmermann walked in the next at bat after Ramos' HR, and Ian Desmond followed with an opposite field double, his 9th of 2012, to put runners on second and third with no one out and Roger Bernadina due up. The Shark flew deep enough to center to score even the pitcher, but Zimmermann tagged up and turned back even as Reds' center fielder Drew Stubbs threw in to third, conceding the run. Bad baserunning and/or advice from the third base coach costs the Nats. Ryan Zimmerman lines to right on a full-count slider, but the Nats' pitcher's late to tag up and doesn't go again. Probably a good idea there. 2 outs. Adam LaRoche gets a free pass in front of Bryce Harper... who rips a sharp grounder up the middle that Brandon Phillips backhands, tossing to second behind his back for the force. Unreal. 3 outs.
• Danny? Danny Espinosa?: Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single by Reds' catcher Ryan Hanigan in the home-half of the fifth, but retired the next three batters in order without the runner advancing. The 14-pitch frame had the Nats' starter at 77 pitches, 59 of the strikes after five innings in GABP. Mat Latos was done after six, with Reds' right-hander Jose Arredondo taking over on the mound and one pitch in it's a 2-1 game! Danny Espinosa takes the first pitch of the sixth to right field and GONE! Solo HR, Espinosa's 3rd and second in two nights and the Nats' take the lead.
• +Arm: Jordan Zimmermann walked Joey Votto to start the Reds' 6th, but Ian Desmond turned a slick 6-3 DP on a lineout to short by Brandon Phillips, catching the ball and throwing to first in one motion to double Votto up. Three pitches later Jay Bruce flew out to center and Zimmermann had completed a 13-pitch frame. Still 2-1 Nationals and the Nats' starter's up to 90 pitches with a one-run lead. Roger Bernadina singled with one down in the seventh, but Reds' right-hander Logan Ondrusek got a DP grounder out of Ryan Zimmerman to end the top of the inning.
• Not Wilson: Jordan Zimmermann abused Reds' third baseman Todd Frazier with sliders all night, but the 26-year-old Cincinnati infielder finally got a hold of one, singling to right on one-bender-too-many to start the seventh. With Ryan Ludwick up in the next at bat, Zimmermann threw a fastball low by Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos, who jumped up to chase it and tried to plant to make a throw only to have his knee buckle. Ramos went down in obvious pain and had to be helped off the field. The catcher wasn't putting any pressure on his right leg. Jordan Zimmermann (with Jesus Flores catching) pitched his way around the leadoff hit and stranded Frazier at third at the end of a 15-pitch frame.
• Aroldis Chapman vs Bryce Harper: The first meeting between 24-year-old Cuban-born flamethrowing left-hander and 19-year-old preternaturally-gifted hitter Bryce Harper was a one-sided affair with the Reds' reliever retiring Harper on three pitches. 99 mph FB, fouled off. 87 mph slider, fouled off, strike two. 100 mph fastball. Strike three swinging. Harper's 0 for 4 with a K. No word on the fate of any bats. Chapman strikes Rick Ankiel out too to end a 18-pitch frame. Still 2-1 Nationals though...
Zimmermann's line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K's, 105 P, 74 S, 7/3 GO/FO, #Nats up 2-1.
CLIPP!!: Nats' RHP Tyler Clippard took over on the mound in the 8th giving up a two-out walk to Joey Votto before completing a quick 23-pitch 8th in GABP after which Aroldis Chapman came back out, retiring the Nationals in order on 15 pitches. 2-1 Nationals after eight and Henry "Lightning" Rodriguez came on looking for save no. 8 of 2012. A 97 mph 0-2 fastball got Jay Bruce swinging. ONE!! Todd Frazier watched an 0-2 slider drop in for a called strike three and Ryan Ludwick's punched out on a 1-2 slider in the dirt. Check-swing strike three. Nats win. 2-1 final. Jordan Zimmermann improves to (2-3). Henry Rodriguez gets his 8th save...
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- dc Roach - 171
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• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: "COMING SOON!!!:
Nationals now 21-12.