Washington Nationals 7-6 Over Cleveland Indians On Anthony Rendon's First MLB HR

Jason Miller

Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann was staked to an early lead only to watch it evaporate as the Cleveland Indians battled back from 5-0 down to take a 6-5 lead after five, but Chad Tracy's solo home run in the seventh tied it at 6-6, and Anthony Rendon's first MLB HR put the Nats back up 7-6.

In two June starts before tonight's, 27-year-old Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed just six hits and two runs, both of them unearned, in 15.0 IP in which he held opposing hitters to a .115/.179/.212 line. On the year, the '07 2nd Round pick was (9-3) with a 2.00 ERA, a 3.10 FIP, 13 walks (1.24 BB/9) and 61 Ks (5.80 K/9) in 13 starts and 94.2 IP before he took the mound against the Cleveland Indians this evening in Progressive Field.

The Nats' right-hander also had a 2-0 lead before he toed the rubber, courtesy of back-to-back two-out solo home runs by Ryan Zimmerman (#TKCHZ!) and Jayson Werth (#WERTHQUAKE), both of whom took Indians' lefty Scott Kazmir deep before the veteran starter finished a 20-pitch opening frame in the second game of the three game AL rules Interleague series in Ohio.

Jordan Zimmermann gave up a one-out walk to Jason Kipnis in the bottom of the first, but retired the next to batters in a order in a 17-pitch inning that ended with Michael Brantley rolling one to Ian Desmond at short.

Grounder. Desmond. Out. 2-0 Nats after one.

Make that 3-0. Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond took an 83 mph 1-2 slider from Scott Kazmir to left and out for a line drive solo home run in the first at bat of the Nats' second. Desmond's 9th home run of the year was the Nationals' third of the night off Kazmir, who allowed nine home runs in 52.1 IP before tonight's game. The Indians' left-hander issued a one-out walk to Kurt Suzuki, but retired the next two Nationals in order in a 27-pitch inning that had him at 47 pitches total after two.

Anthony Rendon threw to first for out no.1. on a Carlos Santana grounder to second in Cleveland's half of the second inning. A swinging K by Mark Reynolds and line drive to Werth in right followed in a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that had Jordan Zimmermann at 26 pitches overall after two in Ohio.

Rendon got the night off last night in the Nats' loss in Cleveland, but in his second at bat tonight, the 23-year-old converted second baseman doubled for the sixth time this season and extended his current hit streak to nine-straight games when he lined to left on a 2-2 change from the Indians' left-handed starter. The double to left left Rendon 1 for 2 tonight and 12 for 32 over the course of his hit streak. Walks to Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth followed Rendon's double as the Nationals loaded the bases with no outs. Adam LaRoche worked the count full and grounded into a 4-6-3 DP. Rendon scored on LaRoche's DP grounder, but Zimmerman almost got thrown out trying to advance to third on the play. 4-0 Nats. Ian Desmond walked with two down and ball four was a wild pitch that brought Zimmerman in to make it 5-0 Washington. That was it for Scott Kazmir.

Mike Aviles doubled with one down in the Indians' third for Cleveland's first hit of the game off Jordan Zimmermann. Michael Bourn K'd swinging for out no.2 and Zimmermann's third strikeout, but Jason Kipnis came through with a two-out RBI single that brought Aviles around to score the first earned run Zimmermann's allowed in June. 5-1 game, and Kipnis got picked off first and tagged out to end the inning. 14 pitches for the Nats' starter, 40 overall after three in Progressive Field.

Matt Albers came out for the top fourth after finishing the third for Scott Kazmir. Albers pitched around a leadoff walk to complete a scoreless 12-pitch inning vs the Nationals. Jordan Zimmermann collected his fourth K in 3.1 IP with a 2-2 curve to Nick Swisher that got the veteran slugger swinging. A groundout to second gave Zimmermann two quick outs on eight pitches, but he started behind Indians' catcher Carlos Santana 3-0 and gave up a solo home run to right-center on a 95 mph 3-1 fastball. 5-2 Nationals. And 5-3 when Mark Reynolds took a full-count heater to left for the second-straight home run and just the eighth dinger Zimmermann's allowed in 98.2 IP this season. 5-3 Nats after four. 62 pitches for Zimmermann after a 22-pitch inning.

Jayson Werth battled Matt Albers for 11 pitches before singling to left with one down in the top of the fifth. Indians' manager Terry Francona went to the bullpen for right-hander Bryan Shaw, who got an inning-ending 4-5-3 DP out of Adam LaRoche. 5-3 Nats after four and a half. A full-count slider got Ryan Raburn swinging for the first out of the Indians' fifth and Jordan Zimmermann's sixth K. The Nats' starter fell behind 2-0 to Mike Aviles in the next at bat and gave up a single to center with one down. One out later, Jason Kipnis connected for his second hit of the night off Zimmermann, bringing Nick Swisher up with two on and two out. Swisher's line drive to center brought Aviles in and Michael Brantley stepped in next and doubled to center to clear the bases with a two-run double on a 95 mph 1-0 fastball from the Nationals' starter. 6-5 Indians after five innings in Cleveland.

Ian Desmond reached on an error by Mike Aviles on what should have been out no.1 of the sixth. Bryan Shaw got Chris Marrero swinging with a 2-2 slider, but Ian Desmond advanced himself into scoring position with his seventh stolen base of the year. A flyout to center by Kurt Suzuki moved Desmond to third, but Mike Aviles made a barehand play on a one-hop blooper toward short that got by third baseman Mark Reynolds and threw to first in time to get the third out of the inning. Davey Johnson came out to discuss the call, but first base ump Mark Carlson was unmoved by the manager's argument. 6-5 Indians after five and a half.

Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 88 P, 54 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

Craig Stammen issued a four-pitch walk to Mark Reynolds to put the leadoff man on in Cleveland's sixth. A one-out walk to Ryan Raburn put two runners on, but Stammen got a grounder to third from Mike Aviles and Ryan Zimmerman threw to second to start an inning-ending 5-4-3. 6-5 Indians after six.

Anthony Rendon was 2 for 4 tonight after singling with one out in the Nationals' seventh. Indians' right-hander Cody Allen got Ryan Zimmermann looking with a full-count curve for out no.2. Jayson Werth took a low 3-1 fastball for a called strike two and flew to left... where Michael Brantley made a diving catch to rob Werth of an RBI hit. Still 6-5 Indians in the seventh. Ian Krol came out to face the Indians in the bottom of the inning and threw a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 frame, collecting two Ks along the way. Still 6-5 Cleveland though.

Indians' reliever Joe Smith retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the eighth. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson turned to Chad Tracy with two down... and the Nats' hairy-chested bench bat crushed an 0-2 sinker from the generically-named Indians' reliever and hit a game-tying solo home run out to center to make it 6-6 after seven and a half innings in Progressive Field. Tracy's second HR of 2013. #GOONSQUADLEADER. Ian Krol came back out for the bottom of the eighth and popped Michael Brantley up for out no.1. Carlos Santana K'd swinging at a 93 mph full-count fastball. Two down. Drew Storen took over on the mound against Mark Reynolds and got him swinging with a 3-2 slider. 6-6 after eight.

Vinnie Pestano got a fly to center from Steve Lombardozzi for out no.1, Denard Span grounded to first for out no.2. Anthony Rendon popped up for what should have been out no.3, but the Indians let it fall to the grass in foul territory to give the Nats' rookie a second chance which the Nats' second baseman used to hit his first major league home run out to right and just over the wall! 7-6 Nationals after eight and a half. "Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came out for the bottom of the inning looking for save no. 17 of 2013. Soriano got back-to-back backwards Ks from Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn, but Mike Aviles doubled with two down to put the tying run in scoring position, before a sharp line drive to first by Michael Bourn went right into Adam LaRoche's glove. Ballgame.

Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!!

Nationals now 34-33

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