The Detroit Tigers radio men called Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann a "cracker jack" pitcher, and the defending American League champs brought their A-lineup to Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium today to take on the 26-year-old Nats' right-hander and the defending NL East champs. On Sunday, in the first of two back-to-back Grapefruit League meetings, the Nats outslugged the Tigers to take a 12-10 win in Lakeland, Florida's Joker Marchant Stadium. While Jordan Zimmermann was on the mound this afternoon in the Nationals' Spring home, the '07 2nd Round pick dominated the Tigers, retiring 18-straight after a leadoff single in the first, but when Zimmermann left the game after 6.0 IP, new Nats' closer Rafael Soriano came on and blew the lead...
Here's how it happened.
Jordan Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single by Andy Dirks, but retired the next three Tigers in order in what ended up being an 18-pitch opening frame. Denard Span started the Nationals' first with a fly ball to left that fell in front of Dirks for a single. The Nats' 29-year-old leadoff man was gifted a base on a botched pick attempt by heterochromic right-hander Max Scherzer, but Span was picked off with Bryce Harper at the plate and the Nats' 20-year-old outfielder K'd swinging for out no.3 to end the bottom of the first.
Zimmermann retired the Tigers in order in the top of the second, setting Victor Martinez, Alex Avila and Don Kelly down in order in what Twitter said was a 14-pitch inning against Detroit. 32-pitches total for Zimmermann. Max Scherzer got Ryan Zimmerman looking with an 0-2 curve for out no.1 of the Nats' second. Scherzer walked Ian Desmond with two down, but got an inning-ending groundout from Nats' second baseman Danny Espinosa to keep it scoreless through two. Omar Infante grounded to short for the first out of the third. Grounder. Desmond. Out. A grounder to the mound off Ramon Santiago's bat and a grounder to first ended another quick 1-2-3 frame for Jordan Zimmermann. 45 pitches total for Zimmerman after a 13-pitch inning. Nine-straight set down after Dirks' leadoff single in the first. Seven ground ball outs. #P2C
Wilson Ramos lined a Scherzer bender to left for a leadoff single in the Nationals' half of the third, but two outs later he was still standing at first. Jayson Werth lined to right for what looked like a gift when Torii Hunter dropped it, but Werth was caught off first when Hunter threw it back in quickly and the Nats' outfielder was tagged out by Prince Fielder for the final out of the third.
Torii Hunter flew to Denard Span in center for the 10th straight out of Jordan Zimmermann's fifth Spring Training outing. Miguel Cabrera flew to left. Two outs on five pitches. A Prince Fielder pop to Adam LaRoche in foul territory off first ended the top of the fourth. 12-straight set down. 8-pitch inning. 53 overall. Max Scherzer retired Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman for the first two outs of the fourth, but Adam LaRoche, who started the day 3 for 24 this Spring, was 1 for 2 against Scherzer and 4 for 26 in Grapefruit League action after his first HR sailed out to left field for a solo opposite field blast and a 1-0 lead.
Victor Martinez, Alex Avila and Don Kelly were victims no.s 13, 14 and 15 set down by Jordan Zimmermann, who completed his fifth scoreless frame after adding three more groundouts to the argument for P2C over P2K (at least in his case). Wilson Ramos singled with one down in the Nats' fifth, but after Zimmermann bunted him over, Denard Span K'd swinging to end the inning. Zimmermann retook the mound in the top of the sixth and set the 16th, 17th and 18th-straight Tigers' batters in a row down to preserve the Nats' 1-0 lead. All three outs are grounders.
Bryce Harper walked with one down in the Nationals' sixth. Tigers' right-hander Bruce Rondon got Ryan Zimmerman swinging with a two-strike slider for out no.2. Harper stole second with Adam LaRoche up, but he was stranded there when the 22-year-old, 6'3'', 250 lb Rondon struck the Nats' first baseman out to end the bottom of the sixth. Rafael Soriano replaced Jordan Zimmermann in the top of the seventh. Zimmerman's line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K, MAD GROUNDOUTS!! 13 groundouts. 67 pitches total for Zimmermann. 13 pitches to get the last six outs according to the Tigers announcers...
... Soriano gave up a leadoff single by Torii Hunter. Hunters' pinch runner, Tyler Collins, tagged and took second on a fly to center by Miguel Cabrera, took third on a wild pitch/passed ball and then scored on a bloop single to left by Prince Fielder. 1-1 game. Victor Martinez walked in the next at bat and Fielder's pinch runner, Matt Tuiasosopo scored on an Alex Avila single to right. 2-1 Tigers. 3-1 one out later when Omar Infante drives V-Mart in. Ramon Santiago's two-out RBI single ended Soriano's day. Fernando Abad retired the first batter he faced, Jeff Kobernus, who was the ninth Tiger to hit in the inning. 4-1 Tigers after six and a half.
Wilson Ramos singled with two down in the Nationals' seventh. 3 for 3 today, 8 for 18 this Spring for the Nats' 25-year-old catcher, but he was stranded at first when Chad Tracy grounded out to end the inning. Still 4-1 Tigers.
Drew Storen issued a leadoff walk to the first batter he faced in the eighth, Tyler Collins, and gave up a one-out single, but managed to strike out the side in a scoreless top of the inning. Tigers' right-hander Brayan Villarreal took over for Detroit in the bottom of the eighth. Denard Span singled to start the frame, lining to center, but three quick outs later he was stranded at first. 4-1 Tigers after eight.
Henry Rodriguez walked the first two batters he faced, then hit the third, loading the bases with no one out. After a swinging K from former Nats' prospect Jeff Kobernus, Rodriguez got a fly to center from Tyler Collins for out no.2 though a run scored, and a Kevin Russo groundout ended the Tigers' 9th. Adam LaRoche went down looking for the first out of the Nats' ninth. Ian Desmond flew out to left. Danny Espinosa singled with two down, but Carlos Maldonado K'd looking to end the game.
Tigers win, 5-1 final.