Jordan Zimmermann walked angrily off the back of the mound in the nation's capital, bit his tongue, which stuck out of his mouth between his lips and rubbed the white leather of the baseball hard between his large Wisconsin-winter-hardened hands after flying open and misfiring on a 1-1 fastball to New York Mets' leadoff man Omar Quintanilla.
The Washington Nationals' right-handed starter collected himself quickly and ended up getting a pop to third out of the NY infielder for the first out of the opening inning of tonight's game in the nation's capital. Zimmermann came up and in and hit David Wright with two down in the top of the first, knocking Wright to his back in the batter's box dirt with a high fastball to the back of Wright's arm, but the Mets' first baserunner was stranded when Lucas Duda grounded out to Nats' second baseman Steve Lombardozzi to end an 18-pitch opening frame.
With one down in the Nationals' second, Jayson Werth stepped to the plate in Nats Park for the first time since April 28th and flew out to Rick Ankiel on the track in right-center for the second out of the bottom of the inning. Mets' right-hander Jeremy Hefner matched Jordan Zimmermann's scoreless first with a more efficient 12-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning.
A 1-2 curve to John Buck, who hit one of the six home runs Jordan Zimmermann's allowed this season, K'd swinging for the first out of New York's second. A weak groundout to first got the Nats' starter two quick outs on seven pitches. Zimmermann's eighth pitch of the inning was ripped by first and down the line for a two-out double to right off Jordany Valdespin's bat, but Rick Ankiel popped up to short right to end a 15-pitch inning that had the Nats' starter at 33 overall after two scoreless. It was 1-0 Nationals three pitches into the bottom of the second. Nats' SS Ian Desmond got all of a 2-0 change from Jeremy Hefner and yanked it from the outside of the dish out to left and ten rows deep into the stands for his eighth home run of the season and a 1-0 Nats' lead after two.
Jordan Zimmermann retired the opposing pitcher, then issued a four-pitch walk to Omar Quintinilla with one down in the Mets' third before getting a 5-4-3 inning-ending DP out of Daniel Murphy in a 10-pitch inning that had him at 43 total after three in D.C. Jeremy Hefner needed nine pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the bottom of the inning. Zimmermann got the first two outs of the fourth with three pitches, and needed eight total to retire the Mets in order and keep it 1-0 Nats after three and a half. 51 pitches total after four. The Nationals went down on 14 pitches in the bottom of the inning, leaving Hefner at 51 overall as well.
Jordan Zimmermann got a weak grounder to second from Ike Davis for the first out of the fifth, but he dropped the ball while he stepped on first trying to cover on a slow roller from Jordany Valdespin to Adam LaRoche. LaRoche fielded a sharp grounder off Rick Ankiel's bat, but threw high to second trying for a 3-6-3 DP in the next AB and the throw pulled Ian Desmond off the bag leaving both runners safe. With Mets on first and second with one down, Mets' shortstop Omar Quintanilla tripled by the first base bag to drive in both runners and make it a 2-1 game in the visitor's favor after four and a half in the nation's capital. 20-pitch inning for Zimmermann, 71 overall. Steve Lombardozzi singled with two down in the Mets' fifth, breaking Jeremy Hefner's streak of ten-straight Nationals set down after Ian Desmond's second inning home run, but Kurt Suzuki's liner to left was caught by Lucas Duda for the final out of the Nationals' fifth. Still 2-1 New York.
David Wright lined out to Jayson Werth on the first pitch of the sixth. Jordan Zimmermann got a fly out to center from Lucas Duda four pitches later, and finished the inning on seven pitches when John Buck sent a weak dribbler toward first that Kurt Suzuki was all over. Still 2-1 NY. 78 pitches for Zimmermann after six. Denard Span and Jayson Werth hit back-to-back, one-out singles off Jeremy Hefner in the bottom of the sixth, bringing Ryan Zimmerman to the plate with two on. Hefner threw a letter-high 92 mph 2-2 fastball by the Nats' three-hole hitter for out no.2 of the Nationals' sixth. Adam LaRoche worked the count full and walked to load the bases for Ian Desmond, whose groundout to third kept NY up by one, 2-1.
Jordany Valdespin snuck a drag bunt by a charging Jordan Zimmermann on what was ruled an error by the Nats' starter, but Valdespin was thrown out at second trying to steal the base and Zimmermann threw an 0-2 fastball by Rick Ankiel to end a nine-pitch inning at 87 pitches overall. The Nationals went down in order on 12 pitches in the bottom of the seventh, after which Jeremy Hefner was done for the night.
Marlon Byrd hit for the Mets' starter in the top of the eighth with a swinging K, Zimmermann's third. Omar Quintanilla doubled to the left-center gap with one down, but two quick outs later, the Nats' starter was through 8.0 innings on 101 pitches after a 14-pitch frame. Chad Tracy flew out to left in a pinch hit appearance against Mets' right-hander Brandon Lyon in the bottom of the eighth. Denard Span flew to center for out no.2. Jayson Werth K'd swinging to keep it 2-1 after eight.
Tyler Clippard threw a quick, 16-pitch top of the ninth vs the Mets. New York closer Bobby Parnell came out for the bottom of the inning. Ryan Zimmerman... doubled to right-center and off the out-of-town scoreboard. Rick Ankiel was all over it, however, and came "this close" to throwing Zimmerman out at second base. "Safe!" Zimmerman took third on a wild pitch from Parnell and scored the tying run on an RBI single to right by Adam LaRoche. 2-2 game. Ian Desmond doubled to left-center in the next at bat, sending LaRoche around to third and there were runners on second third with no one out in the Nationals' ninth. An intentional walk to Roger Bernadina loaded the bases for Steve Lombardozzi... battled for nine pitches and flew deep enough to left to win it! Sac fly, 3-2 Nationals.
Nationals now 29-29