Washington was 15-5 with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound this season coming into this afternoon's game with the visiting New York Mets, and the Nationals' right-hander was 14-1 with a 3.01 ERA in last 23 starts at Nationals Park with the Nats 19-4 over that stretch when their 27-year-old '07 2nd Round pick took the mound in the nation's capital. The one loss at home in Zimmermann's last 23 outings in D.C. came last time out, however, in his first start after the All-Star Break. Zimmermann chose to sit out of the Mid-Summer Classic so he could rest a bothersome neck issue, but he returned to the mound against the LA Dodgers and started the second "half" of the 2013 campaign with a two-inning outing in which he gave up eight hits, two walk and seven runs, all earned. Zimmermann's neck was fine, however.
This afternoon's game started with New York Mets' second baseman Daniel Murphy taking Zimmermann deep to right for a one-out solo home run that bounced off the facade of the second deck to make it 1-0 NY after a 20-pitch first by the Nationals' starter. The Nationals had runners on first and third with one down after back-to-back, one-out singles by Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the first, but New York right-hander Jenrry Mejia struck Adam LaRoche out and got a groundout to second from Jayson Werth to end an 18-pitch opening frame with the one-run lead in tact.
An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the second had Jordan Zimmermann up to 28 overall after two. Kurt Suzuki singled with two down on Jenrry Mejia's 10th pitch of the bottom of the inning, but one pitch to Zimmermann and one groundout to second later, the Mets' starter had two scoreless on 30 pitches. And it was still 1-0 New York.
Mets' outfielder Juan Lagares hit a two-out double over Bryce Harper's head in left on a 95 mph 1-2 heater from Jordan Zimmermann. Daniel Murphy, who homered the first time up, did it again in the third, taking a full-count slider to right and into the Nationals' bullpen for a two-run blast and a 3-0 lead. David Wright almost made it a four-run lead but flew out to deep left where Bryce Harper made a leaping catch at the wall. 24-pitch inning for Zimmermann. 52 pitches total after 3 IP.
Steve Lombardozzi was 2 for 2 after a swinging bunt single in the Nats' third, as was Ryan Zimmerman after a line drive single to center, but Adam LaRoche popped weakly to third for out no.2 and Werth K'd swinging to end the third inning.
Ike Davis spit on a full-count curve in the dirt and walked with one down in the Mets' fourth, but a fly to center off Andrew Brown's bat and a called strike three on Mets' catcher Anthony Recker ended a 14-pitch fourth after which Zimmermann was up to 66 pitches overall with 7 Ks collected. Still 3-0 Mets. Ian Desmond singled to center on a 2-0 cutter from Jenrry Mejia to start the Nationals' fourth, but he was doubled up on a Denard Span grounder to second and Kurt Suzuki's sharp grounder to third ended NY's starter's fourth scoreless frame.
Omar Quintanilla lined a full-count fastball back up the middle to start the fifth, but he was doubled up when Jenrry Mejia's attempt at a bunt went right back to Jordan Zimmermann on the mound to start a 1-6-3 DP. Juan Lagares worked the count full and walked with two down when Jordan Zimmermann missed low and away with a 96 mph heater. Lagares stole second with Daniel Murphy at the plate, but he was stranded there when Murphy lined out to Bryce Harper to end a 23-pitch fifth that had Zimmermann at 89 pitches total after 5 IP. Jenrry Mejia needed 10 pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the bottom fifth, after which he was up to 67 overall and up 3-0.
Jordan Zimmermann walked Marlon Byrd with one down in the top of the sixth, but completed a scoreless 16-pitch inning two quick outs later. 105 pitches overall. 8 Ks in six innings of work. Still 3-0 New York. Jenrry Mejia got up 0-2 on Ryan Zimmerman and struck the Nats' third baseman out. Adam LaRoche K'd swinging through a full-count curve for out no.2, but Jayson Werth hit an opposite field single to right with two down, before Ian Desmond K'd swinging to end a 17-pitch frame and Mejia's sixth scoreless. 84 pitches.
Anthony Recker hit Jordan Zimmerman's 107th pitch to right and off the out-of-town scoreboard for a leadoff double in the top of the seventh then scored two outs later on a Juan Lagares' single that ended Zimmermann's night. 4-0 Mets. Fernando Abad came on in relief and gave up an RBI single by Daniel Murphy that made it 5-0 New York after six and a half.
Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 2 HRs, 118 P, 74 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
Jenrry Mejia was up to 90 pitches when Denard Span lined out to center for the first out of the Nats' seventh. Kurt Suzuki grounded out to third for out no.2 on Mejia's 95th pitch. Pinch hitter Roger Bernadina grounded to first to end the seventh. Still 5-0 New York.
Ryan Mattheus, fresh off the DL, walked Ike Davis to start the eighth, but a sharp grounder to third off Andrew Brown's bat started a 5-4-3 DP. Anthony Recker's line drive to Denard Span in center ended a scoreless inning of work for Mattheus. Still 5-0 Mets. Bryce Harper lined a single to right-center to start the Nats' eighth. Pinch runner Scott Hairston was forced out at second on a Steve Lombardozzi grounder and Lombardozzi was doubled up on a Ryan Zimmerman groundout to short. 5-0 Mets after eight.
Omar Quintanilla walked to start the ninth and one out later went to third on a Juan Lagares double to center. Ryan Mattheus tried to hold the Mets there, Daniel Murphy's fourth hit of the night, a line drive to left, brought in the Mets' sixth run. 6-0 New York. Drew Storen came on in relief and the first pitch he threw to David Wright was lined to left for an RBI single and a 7-0 lead. Marlon Byrd's opposite field double made it 8-0 Mets. 11-0 on a three-run blast to right by Ike Davis.
Gonzalez Germen came on to end it for the Mets. Adam LaRoche grounded to first. Jayson Werth grounded out to short. Ian Desmond? Walked with two down. Denard Span popped up to third. Ballgame.
Nationals now 49-54.