Far off claps of thunder greeted the Washington Nationals as they took the field tonight for the second game of three with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks in the nation's capital. Jordan Zimmermann was on the mound for the Nats, looking for his eleventh win of the year in his sixteenth start. Ryan Zimmerman (no relation, one less "n") made a diving play and sidearm throw from third to get D-Backs' leadoff man Gerardo Parra at first for out no.1 of the opening frame. Aaron Hill battled Zimmermann for 12 pitches before taking a one-out walk from the Nationals' starter, and then scored when Paul Goldschmidt went with a 1-2 slider low and away and lined to right for an RBI double. 1-0 Diamondbacks. One out later Martin Prado improved to 7 for 12 in his career vs Zimmermann when he took a first-pitch fastball to right on a line drive that fell in front of Jayson Werth and brought Goldschmidt around. 2-0 D-Backs after a 1/2 in Nats Park. 28-pitch inning for Zimmermann.
Anthony Rendon sent a full-count cutter to center for a one-out single in the bottom of the first, improving to 3 for 6 in the series one at bat into game two of three, 10 for 23 on the Nationals' homestand and 27 for 71 since he came back up for his second stint in the major leagues this season on June 5th. Rendon scored from first in the next at bat when Ryan Zimmerman pulled a 2-2 slider down the line in left for a one-out double that cut the D-Backs' lead in half. 2-1 Arizona after an inning in D.C.
A.J. Pollock, Didi Gregorius and Wade Miley went down in order in a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the second by Jordan Zimmermann. Miley needed nine pitches to get fly balls outs from the Nats' 6-7-and-8 hitters in the bottom of the inning, leaving the Diamondbacks' left-hander at 29 pitches overall after two. Gerardo Parra grounded to second to start the third, and Aaron Hill had seen 13 pitches in two at bats after he flew out to left on the first pitch from Zimmermann the second time up. Paul Goldschmidt popped up behind first and a nine-pitch inning for Jordan Zimmermann ended with Anthony Rendon's catch. 48 overall in 3.0 IP. Seven in-a-row retired. Anthony Rendon was 2 for 2 tonight after doubling to right with two down in the Nats' third. Ryan Zimmerman walked in front of Jayson Werth, but the Nats' right fielder grounded to short to end the third inning.
Jordan Zimmermann missed with a 3-2 slider and walked Miguel Montero in the first at bat of the fourth, but a 1-1 fastball got the Nats' right-hander a grounder to third from Martin Prado that started a 5-4-3 DP. Jason Kubel lined to center on a 2-2 slider inside for a two-out single, but Zimmermann popped A.J. Pollock up to end a 17-pitch inning at 65 overall. Tyler Moore took a 3-0 pitch in his two-out at bat vs Wade Miley in the bottom of the fourth, and went to a full count with Diamondbacks' starter before he got a pitch he could hit and crushed it, sending a scorched line drive out to left and into the visitor's bullpen just to the left of the Red Porch seats for home run no.3 of 2013 and a 2-2 tie in the nation's capital.
A groundout to second, swinging K from the pitcher (on a cruel, 1-2 slider) and a Gerardo Parra lineout to third ended the top of the fifth after 10 pitches from Jordan Zimmermann. Denard Span was first-pitch swinging and singled to right to start the Nationals' fifth. A passed ball with Anthony Rendon up moved Span into scoring position at second, and Rendon moved Span over to third with his third hit in three at bats tonight, a single to center on a 2-2 two-seam fastball from Wade Miley. Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a double play in the next at bat, but the go-ahead run came home from third, 3-2 Nationals after five innings in Nationals Park.
Aaron Hill flew to center. Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to short. Miguel Montero K'd swinging through a 3-2 heater. 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth inning for Nats' starter Jordan Zimmermann, 87 overall after six, 59 in five innings after a 28-pitch first. 3-2 Nationals. Wade Miley needed nine pitches, in a quick, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning. Jordan Zimmermann popped Martin Prado up in the first at bat of the D-Backs' seventh. Jason Kubel flew out to left. A fly to right by A.J. Pollock ended a 15-pitch top of the inning that had Zimmermann at 102 overall with ten straight D-Backs retired.
Zimmermann's Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 102P/71S, 5/3 GO/FO, 3-2 DC.
Wade Miley needed just six pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the bottom of the seventh inning, after which he too was done. 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 100P/66S, 9/5 GO/FO.
Tyler Clippard took over on the mound in the top of the eighth. A 1-2 change got a fly to center from Didi Gregorius. Clippard hit pinch hitter Willie Bloomquist in the hand to put a D-Backs' runner on for the first time since the top of the fourth, but a force at second on a Geraro Parra grounder to short and a swinging K from Aaron Hill followed in what ended up being a 17-pitch inning by the Nats' right-handed reliever. Josh Collmenter took over for Arizona in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan Zimmerman hit a one-out double, Zim's 15th of 2013. One out later, the D-Backs walked Adam LaRoche to get to Ian Desmond, who grounded out to end the eighth.
Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Rafael Soriano took over in the top of the ninth, looking for his 21st save of 2013. Paul Goldschmidt popped out to first. ONE!! Miguel Montero... lined to right for a one-out single. Cliff Pennington came on to run for Montero. Martin Prado grounded out to Ryan Zimmerman at third. TWO!!! Jason Kubel stepped in with two down and the tying run on second and went up 3-0 before the Nationals decided to walk him. A.J. Pollock was 0 for 3 when he stepped in and popped to second to end the game. Ballgame. Nats win, 3-2 final.
Work's done! Untuck that jersey, son!!
Nationals now 39-38