Washington Nationals 5-2 Over Chicago White Sox: Jordan Zimmermann Goes 7.0; Bryce Harper Goes Second Deck In Right

Rob Carr

The Washington Nationals improved to 5-0 at home this year with a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. The Nats took the second straight Interleague matchup on a night that saw Jordan Zimmermann throw seven strong innings while Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa came through at the plate.

There was a 20-minute delay before the start of tonight's game because the umpires were caught in traffic and late to arrive at Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park. It's apparently a mistake to underestimate the appeal of cherry blossoms in the nation's capital at this time of year. Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann and Chicago White Sox' right-hander Gavin Floyd were informed beforehand so they didn't warm up and have to wait. About ten minutes after the scheduled start time the umpiring crew finally took the field and fifteen minutes afterwards the second game of three for the White Sox in D.C. finally got underway with Alejandro De Aza grounding out to second on a 96 mph 2-2 fastball from the Nats' right-handed starter.

Former Nationals' outfielder/first baseman Adam Dunn stepped into the batter's box at Nationals Park for the first time since he played in Washington in 2009-10 with runners on second and third after a one-out single by Jeff Keppinger and a double by Alex Rios. A weak groundout to first brought a run in and the White Sox were up 1-0 when Jordan Zimmermann finally ended a 15-pitch opening frame.

Denard Span K'd swinging at a 1-2 cutter from Gavin Floyd for the first out of the Nationals' first. Jayson Werth couldn't hold up and he was punched out by third base ump Phil Cuzzi, who was late with the call too. [ed. note - "[ZING]!"]. Bryce Harper's groundout to first ended the inning. One at bat into his eighth game, the Nats' 20-year-old outfielder was 11 for 30 in 2013.

Alexei Ramirez hit a 94 mph 2-2 four-seamer back to the mound for out no.1 in the second. Zimmermann leapt for a chopper over the mound which glanced off his outstretched glove, but Ian Desmond was waiting to make the play and throw Conor Gillaspie out, and a fly to Denard Span in center off of Tyler Flowers' bat ended an 11-pitch inning with Zimmermann at 26 pitches after two. Ryan Zimmerman grounded weakly to second on a first-pitch fastball from Gavin Floyd, who got Adam LaRoche swinging with a 1-2 slider insider for the fifth straight out to start the game. Ian Desmond ripped into a 2-1 cutter (according to Gameday) up in the zone, lining to left for two-out double, Desmond's third and the Nats' first hit, but a Danny Espinosa groundout ended the second inning in D.C. with the Sox still up 1-0 on the Nationals.

An 0-2 fastball inside from Jordan Zimmermann got Gavin Floyd looking for the first out of the third. Floyd was the sixth batter in a row set down by Zimmermann after the back-to-back one-out hits in the White Sox' first. Alejandro De Aza spoiled the first 2-2 slider he got from Zimmermann, but couldn't check his swinging when the Nats' right-hander came back with a 2-2 curve that got a check-swing strike three and Zimmermann's third K. Out no.3 came on a line drive back to the mound Zimmermann knocked down before throwing to first to end a 12-pitch frame at 38 pitches overall.

Jordan Zimmermann laid down a textbook sac bunt/gave up an out after Kurt Suzuki drew a walk from Gavin Floyd to start the Nationals' third. Another groundout by Denard Span moved Suzuki to third and a swinging K by Jayson Werth stranded the pitcher there. Still 1-0 Sox after three.

Alex Rios broke the Nats' starter's streak of eight-straight batters set down when he went the other way with a 95 mph 1-1 four-seamer, singling to right field. With Adam Dunn at the plate, however, Rios broke for second before Zimmermann even went into his wind-up and was easily thrown out. One down. Danny Espinosa threw Adam Dunn out from short right in the shift for out no.2, but Paul Konerko lined to right for a two-out single and the White Sox' fourth hit. A 1-2 fastball inside sawed Alexei Ramirez's bat in half, however, and Zimmermann was done with the fourth. 1-0 Chicago... until...

One pitch later it was a tie game after Bryce Harper hit a hanging-[expletive deleted] cutter from Gavin Floyd out to right and into the middle rows of the second deck, high above the home team's bullpen. 420 ft + for Harper's 4th. 1-1 game in the nation's capital. Ian Desmond hit his second double of the game off the out-of-town scoreboard in right for his fourth two-base hit of the year with two down in the Nats' fourth, and the Nats' shortstop scored from second when Danny Espinosa single to right in the next at bat to make it 2-1 Nationals over the Sox after four.

Conor Gillaspie lined to right for a leadoff single in the top of the fifth, but Tyler Flowers grounded to short where Ian Desmond started a 6-4-3 from deep in the hole and Jordan Zimmermann then threw a fastball by the opposing pitcher to end a 10-pitch frame at 63 pitches overall. Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back one-out singles in the Nationals' fifth with Werth going first-to-third™ on Harper's second hit of the game. Ryan Zimmerman followed with the third-straight hit, an opposite field, RBI, line drive to right that brought Werth in from third to make it 3-1 Nats after five.

Alejandro De Aza (1 for 3 tonight), doubled to start the White Sox' sixth, then took third on a Jeff Keppinger groundout to second. Another groundout, this time by Alex Rios, brought in Chicago's second run. 3-2 Nationals after five and half in D.C. Ian Desmond started the Nats' sixth with a double off the wall in left-center for his third hit tonight after hitting doubles in his previous two at bats. 3 for 3 tonight for Desmond and Danny Espinosa was 2 for 3 after he doubled to right to drive Desmond in and make it 4-2 Nationals. A walk by Kurt Suzuki and a sac bunt by Zimmermann put runners on second and third with one down. Sox' skipper Robin Ventura turned to Donnie Veal. Denard Span hit a one-hop liner to a drawn-in Alexei Ramirez at short, and the infielder was handcuffed and unable to make the play. Espinosa scored to make it 5-2 Nats. Veal out. Nate Jones in. 5-4-3 DP ends the sixth.

Paul Konerko's groundout to short in the seventh was the 10th groundout of the night for Nats' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Alexei Ramirez popped to Ian Desmond behind third for out no.2 of the White Sox' seventh. Conor Gillaspie hit a two-out single to keep the inning going, but only for one more batter as Zimmermann popped Tyler Flowers up to the Sox' seventh after 16 pitches. 90 overall for the Nationals' starter.

After the Nationals went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, Drew Storen took over for Jordan Zimmerman, who ended up going 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 90 P, 60 S, 10/1 GO/FO. Storen popped up Alejandro De Aza after surrendering a leadoff single by pinch hitter DeWayne Wise. Storen got a fly to right from Jeff Keppinger for out no.2 and a groundout to third from Alex Rios to end the inning. Still 5-2 Nats. The Nationals came up empty in the bottom of the eighth, so it was up to Rafael Soriano to save it.

Adam Dunn K'd swinging over a sinking 92 mph 2-2 fastball for out no.1. ONE!!! Paul Konerko flew to a charging Bryce Harper in right. TWO!!! Alexei Ramirez got a friendly call on an 0-2 fastball outside, then kept the Sox' hopes alive with a two-out single to left. Conor Gillaspie? Pop to LaRoche. Nats win. 5-0 at home in 2013.

Work's done. Untuck your jersey, son!

Nationals now 6-2.

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