Ryan Zimmerman walked in each of his first two at bats tonight, leaving him 1 for 17 over the last four games after three innings. The Washington Nationals led the Chicago White Sox 4-3 when he stepped up for the third time with two on after Daren Haren's one-out double, Jayson Werth's two-out single and an intentional walk to Bryce Harper in the Nats' fourth. Haren scored on a wild pitch before the Sox walked Harper and Zimmerman stepped in against right-hander Dylan Axelrod with two on and two out in a one-run game. Zimmerman fell behind 1-2, but spit on a two-strike slider and the two-seam fastball that followed before going the other way with a full-count slider outside, lining to right and off the fence in front of the Nats' bullpen to drive two in and make it a 6-3 Nats' lead. The Nationals scored another run in the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Harper, who finished the game 2 for 3, and Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano locked down the seventh win of the year and the sweep of the three-game series with the Sox.
Davey Johnson was asked about White Sox' skipper Robin Ventura's decision to walk Harper, who was 1 for 2 with a walk at the time and 5 for 10 at that point in the third game of the series, in favor of facing Zimmerman in the bottom of the fourth. "Well, you know, that's their decision," Johnson said, "You know Harp's swinging pretty good. I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions." Ventura, Johnson explained, "... is pretty big on controlling matchups late in the ballgame and that's what you do. I kind of lean toward giving the guy an opportunity to pitch to him and not give in more than I do putting him on."
"But I firmly believe in matchups," the 70-year-old skipper continued, "and so it doesn't faze me at all."
Asked if the Nats' 28-year-old third baseman took it personally when Harper was walked in front of him, Johnson said, "There's no question. He answered." Zimmerman's answer was the opposite field double which provided the run that ended up being the difference in the 7-4 series-sweeping win.
• Check out Zim's two-run double: