"Jordan [Zimmermann] was outstanding," Davey Johnson told reporters after Monday night's big 10-3 win over the Miami Marlins. Zimmermann threw the second complete game of his career in Marlins Park, but this time went nine and got the win after losing to new teammate Dan Haren in his first complete game (8.0 IP) back in 2011 in a loss to the LA Angels on the road in Angel Stadium. "He's been outstanding all year," the Nats' skipper said of his 26-year-old right-hander, "and he's always had a history of really pitching good here. Just had that one little blip in the seventh inning where I think he was just rushing trying to throw the ball -- he wasn't pitching."
Zimmermann was rolling through five scoreless, with just one hit allowed. Chris Coghlan sent a sharp grounder back over the mound and into center with one down in the fourth, but he was erased on an inning-ending DP in the next AB. Zimmermann induced seven ground ball outs from the first 15 batters he faced, with five of them groundouts to short Ian Desmond handled. A HBP, sac bunt and RBI double by Juan Pierre finally got the Marlins on the board in the top of the sixth, and Pierre scored on the Marlins' third hit off the right-hander when Coghlan hit his second single of the night to right in the at bat that followed. It was 10-2 Nats when Zimmermann got through a 13-pitch sixth which left him at 61 pitches overall.
The Marlins got three straight hits to start the seventh, the third an RBI single by Rob Brantly that made it 10-3 Nationals "He had a great, low-pitch game until the seventh inning, threw a bunch of pitches there," Davey Johnson said when he was asked afterwards about allowing Zimmermann to go the distance. After a 23-pitch seventh inning, Zimmermann was still at a reasonably low 84 pitches overall. A 14-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth brought him to 98 and his quick five-pitch ninth wrapped up his first nine inning complete game as a professional.
"I'd have gone with him probably 115 pitches," Johnson said, "something like that. A couple of guys got on I'd have had to get him. I didn't want him to struggle out there in the last inning after pitching a heck of a ballgame." With the win, Zimmermann improved to (3-0) in three starts and 22.0 IP in which he now has a 2.45 ERA, 3.13 FIP, three walks (1.23 BB/9) and 11 Ks (4.50 K/9). In his career in Marlins Park, Zimmermann (2-1) has now given up 18 hits, seven runs and one walk in 21.0 IP over which he's struck out 16.
Zimmermann's final line tonight: 9.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 14/4 GO/FO, 103 P, 70 S. [ed. note - 14 GOs?"]
"When he's right, guys are trying to hit the ball, put the ball in play. He may not strike out that many, but he's getting a lot of easy outs." Zimmermann gave the Nationals' bullpen the night off and stopped the three-game losing streak that ended the team's last six-game homestand. The sting of the Atlanta Braves' sweeping this past weekend's series wasn't on the Nationals' minds when they took the field tonight in Miami according to their manager. "We don't live in the past and we don't worry too much about things," Johnson said, "We take it one day at a time and this is a perfect example."
• Check out Zimmermann's highlight package at MLB.com HERE or below: