Washington Nationals 10-5 Over Milwaukee Brewers: Bryce Harper Homers On Second Pitch Back From DL... No Seriously!

USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper is kind of amazing. In his first at bat since returning from over a month on the DL, the 20-year-old outfielder homered to give the Nats a 1-0 over the Milwaukee Brewers in what ended up a 10-5 Nationals win in D.C.

With a win tonight in his 16th outing of 2013, Auburndale, Wisconsin-born, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point-educated 2007 2nd Round pick Jordan Zimmermann, (W, 12-3), matched his overall win total from 2012 when he was (12-8) in 32 starts for the Washington Nationals. The Nats' 27-year-old right-hander entered the first game of the four with the visiting Milwaukee Brewers with a 20-start unbeaten streak at home in Nationals Park going back to last May 17th, when he dropped a decision to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a (13-0) record over that stretch with the Nats 17-3 when he took the mound in D.C. over the course of the streak. The Nationals were 18-3 in Zimmermann's last 21 starts at home and Zimmermann was (14-0) in Nats Park since last taking a loss in the nation's capital when the Nats won tonight, 8-5, to improve to 42-40 overall on the year.

Here's how it happened:

Zimmermann threw a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 frame against his home state team in the first, striking Carlos Gomez out with a brutal 1-2 curve to end the opening inning of tonight's contest.

In the Nationals' first, in his first major league at bat since May 26th, 20-year-old Nats' outfielder Bryce Harper hit an opposite field home run off Brewers' starter Yovani Gallardo on a 1-0, two-seam fastball outside that landed in the visitor's bullpen for a one-out solo home blast that cleared the 377ft sign on the wall to give the Nationals the lead after an inning in Nationals Park.

Milwaukee backstop Jonathan Lucroy lined to center on a 94 mph 0-2 fastball from Jordan Zimmermann, connecting for a one-out single in the second, but a pop to center by Rickie Weeks and swinging K from Juan Francisco followed in an 11-pitch inning that had Washington's starter at 21 pitches after two scoreless. Yovani Gallardo needed just nine pitches to retire the side in order in Nationals' second, leaving the Brewers' right-hander at 31 total after two.

Sean Halton had no clue what happened as he K'd swinging at a 78 mph 1-2 curve from Jordan Zimmermann on the fifth pitch of the third. An 0-2 curve to Yovani Gallardo got a grounder to third that Ryan Zimmerman backhanded before firing a strike to Adam LaRoche at first. Norichika Aoki threw his bat at an 0-1 fastball outside and lined it to left for a two-out single and the Brewers' second hit, but Jean Segura grounded out to first to end Milwaukee's third after 13 pitches from Zimmermann. 34 total.

Jordan Zimmermann picked up a bat in the bottom of the inning and ripped a grounder by a diving Aramis Ramirez at third on a knee-high 1-1 fastball inside. A wild pitch from Yovani Gallardo moved the opposing pitcher to third. Denard Span worked an eight-pitch walk to put runners on the corners for Jayson Werth, whose two-run double to left-center scored two runs to make it 3-0 Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman took a 2-2 curve from Gallardo back up the middle for an RBI single that scored Werth, 4-0. Zimmerman stole second with Adam LaRoche at the plate, then scored himself on an opposite field ground-rule double by the Nats' first baseman. Ian Desmond's double to right and off the out-of-town scoreboard brought LaRoche around, and it was 6-0 Nationals with one out in the third. Gallardo got the next two outs without a run scoring, but the Brewers' right-hander was up to 69 pitches after a 38-pitch frame.

Aramis Ramirez singled with one down for the Brewers' third hit the game off Jordan Zimmermann in the fourth. Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon tried to turn an inning-ending 6-4-3 on a Jonathan Lucroy grounder to third, but the catcher beat the 4-3 throw to first, at least according to first base ump, Brian Knight. Rickie Weeks' groundout to third ended the top of the fourth, though, and Zimmermann was up to 45 pitches after an 11-pitch frame.

6-0 Nats.

Zimmermann was 2 for 2 at the plate after he singled to center on a first-pitch fastball in the Nationals' fourth. Denard Span doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard on a 2-0 fastball from Gallardo, sending Zimmermann around to third with no outs, and both Zimmermann and Span scored when Jayson Werth lined to left on a full-count curve that ended up being Gallardo's last pitch of the night. 8-0 Nationals in the fourth.

Burke Badenhop took over for Milwaukee and retired three straight. 8-0 Nats after four.

Juan Francisco lined a first-pitch fastball from Jordan Zimmermann to left for a leadoff single in the fifth. Sean Halton lined to center on an 0-1 heater. Badenhop squared to bunt, but pulled back and watched an 0-2 fastball come in for a called strike three and out no.1. Norichika Aoki's one-out single to right brought Francisco around to get the Brewers on the board and a Jean Segura groundout scored Halton to make it 8-2 after four and a half in D.C. 14-pitch inning for Zimmermann, 59 pitches overall.

Anthony Rendon lined to right for a one-out single in the Nationals' fifth. Jordan Zimmermann was 3 for 3 tonight when he hustled down the line to beat Aramis Ramirez's throw from first on a grounder to third. Both runners were stranded, however, when Denard Span popped out to Ramirez in foul territory off third to end the bottom of the inning. 8-2 Nats after five.

Jordan Zimmermann had two down in the Brewers' sixth when he left a 1-2 slider inside up to Rickie Weeks and gave up a solo home run that landed 20 rows back in the left field seats. Juan Francisco got hold of a 1-2 fastball in the next at bat and hit the second of back-to-back home runs over the out-of-town scoreboard in right to make it an 8-4 game in the top of the sixth. A double to right by Sean Halton got the Nationals' bullpen buzzing, but Logan Schafer stepped in for Burke Badenhop with two down and grounded back to the mound to end a 29-pitch inning by the Nats' starter. 88 overall.

Bryce Harper walked with one down in the Nationals' sixth, taking a five-pitch free pass from former teammate Tom Gorzelanny. but he was doubled up on an inning-ending DP grounder to third by Ryan Zimmerman.

Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 88 P, 67 S, 10/3 GO/FO

Craig Stammen took over for Jordan Zimmermann in the seventh and gave up a two-out RBI double to right by Aramis Ramirez that scored Carlos Gomez from second. 8-5. Drew Storen took over there and got Jonathan Lucroy to pop up to second for the final out of Milwaukee's seventh. Gorzelanny set the Nationals down in order in the bottom of the inning for his second scoreless inning in relief. Still 8-5 Nats.

Tyler Clippard threw a 1-2 change by Rickie Weeks for the first out of the eighth. A first-pitch change got a line drive to Ian Desmond at short out of Juan Francisco and a 1-0 fastball got a long fly to left that Bryce Harper caught on the track to end an eight-pitch inning by Clippard with the score still 8-5. Brewers' right-hander Johnny Hellweg took over for Milwaukee in the bottom of the inning. Chad Tracy hit a pinch hit double to right with one down in the eighth and his pinch runner, Roger Bernadina, advance to third on a wild pitch, and scored after a Denard Span walk when Jayson Werth grounded to short and Jean Segura misplayed it. 9-5. Aramis Ramirez misplayed a two-out grounder by Ryan Zimmerman to let in another run, 10-5.

Fernando Abad came out for the ninth and walked the first pitcher he faced, Jeff Bianchi. Norichika Aoki grounded to second for out no.1. Jean Segura did the same, two down. Carlos Gomez K'd looking to end it. Ballgame!

Nationals now 42-40

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