By earning the curly "W" in last night's 10-5 Washington Nationals' win over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, Jordan Zimmermann improved to (9-0) in 10 starts at home in Nats Park this season in which the 27-year-old right-hander has a 1.50 ERA, a 2.79 FIP, 11 walks (1.38 BB/9) and 47 Ks (5.88 K/9) in 72 IP.
Zimmermann has held opposing hitters who have visited the nation's capital this season to a .199/.235/.280 line and a .232 BABIP. The win also stretched the Nationals' '07 2nd Round pick's unbeaten streak at home to twenty-one straight games going back to last May 17th's loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, over which the pitcher is (14-0) with the Nats 18-3 when he takes the mound in D.C.
Zimmermann retired 9 of the first 11 batters he faced last night, giving up singles in the second and third innings but holding the Brewers off the board. Zimmermann doubled and scored the Nationals' second run of the game on a two-run RBI double by Jayson Werth in the bottom of the third after Bryce Harper had given Washington an early 1-0 lead over Milwaukee with his solo home run in the bottom of the first. The Nationals scored five runs total in the third inning, and Zimmermann threw a quick, 11-pitch top of the fourth which left him at 45 pitches overall. The Nationals added two more runs in the home-half of the fourth to make it an 8-0 game, with Zimmermann singling and Denard Span doubling before Jayson Werth singled both runners in.
The Brewers connected for three hits in the fourth, the third an RBI single by Norichika Aoki that brought in Milwaukee's first run. Another scored on a Jean Segura groundout, and they added two more with back-to-back two-out home runs in the sixth that made it a four-run game, at 8-4. What ended up being a 29-pitch inning ended Zimmermann's night after 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 Ks, 2 HR, 88 pitches, 67 strikes and 10 ground ball outs.
"[Zimmermann] pitched a good ballgame," Davey Johnson told reporters after the Nationals' second straight win. "I think, Milwaukee [went] 14 innings [and] only scored one run yesterday, I think they were hungry to swing the bats. They swung the bats pretty good off him. Didn't help he got a couple base hits and had to run the bases hard, but good win, nice win for him."
The Brewers weren't the only ones swinging the bats good. Zimmermann went 3 for 3 at the plate, collecting his fourth, fifth and sixth hits of the season and his first extra base hit, though he did admit it was a little draining on a hot night in the nation's capital. "It was definitely hot and humid out there. And I was pretty tired after the double," Zimmermann said of his night on the basepaths, "and then I had to run to third right away, so it takes a little bit out of you, but thankfully I got to get on the bench a little bit and catch my breath."
The Nats' skipper wasn't concerned about his starter giving up nine hits in his six innings of work. "They were swinging the bats pretty good," Johnson said, "They've got some pretty good hitters over there and you get a pretty big lead, he's going right after them and they got a few hits." The Nationals had an 8-0 lead before the Brewers got on the board, which may have affected the way Zimmermann approached opposing hitters. "He always goes after them," his manager said, "but might go a little more over the plate. But I'm not really worried about."
With the win, Zimmermann tied the Tigers' Max Scherzer for the Major League lead in wins with 12, which also matched the Nats' right-hander's previous career-high win total, but Zimmermann pointed to the support he's received as the reason for his success more than anything he's done. "They're giving me great run support," he said, "that's all I can say. In years past I wasn't getting that, but this year it's a whole different story, and it's definitely fun going out there when you know they're going to give you four to eight runs a game."
"We have a good ballclub," Zimmermann continued, "and like I said, they're putting up a lot of runs this year, so as long as I can go deep in ballgames and keep the runs minimal, good things are going to happen."
Asked if he had a better night on the mound or at the plate, Zimmermann laughed and said, "Probably at the plate. I pitched all right, but definitely three hits is awesome."