Tonight in Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO, the Washington Nationals and Kansas City Royals donned the uniforms of the 1942 Homestead Grays and Kansas City Monarchs, respectively, to honor the two Negro League teams who met in the Negro World Series that season 71 years ago this September. The Monarchs swept the Grays in four straight games that were played in Griffith Stadium in D.C., Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Yankee Stadium in New York and Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Hall of Famers Satchel Paige of the Monarchs and Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard of the Grays played in the series, with Paige's Monarchs winning that year.
In the first inning tonight, the Nationals, in baggy gray, navy blue lined duds topped by navy blue caps with the Grays' bold white G, got three straight hits and one run off Royals' right-hander Wade Davis, who joined his teammates in wearing white Monarchs jerseys with red sleeves and white, red-striped lids with oversized Ks and Cs on the face. Jordan Zimmermann threw a 14-pitch, 2 K, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning against Kansas City in his first career start against the Royals, but after a scoreless top of the second, gave up leadoff and two-out singles in the bottom of the second. Catcher George Kottaras stepped to the plate with two on and two out, but popped out to end a 22-pitch frame after which Zimmermann was up to 36 pitches with a 1-0 lead after two scoreless.
Wade Davis had set seven in a row down after he retired the Nationals in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 third inning. Alcides Escobar hit an opposite field single through the right side of the infield on the second pitch from Jordan Zimmermann in the bottom of the third. Alex Gordon flew to center on Zimmermann's fourth pitch of the inning. Emilio Bonifacio beat out a grounder to short for a one-out single that put two on with one down for Eric Hosmer, who hit a first-pitch fastball up high inside to center for an RBI single that tied the game at 1-1. Billy Butler grounded into a 5-4-3 DP in the next AB, however, and Zimmermann completed an 11-pitch 3rd at 47 pitches.
Ryan Zimmerman walked to start the fourth and went from first-to-third™ when Bryce Harper lined a center-cut cutter to right for a single in the second at bat of the inning. Wilson Ramos hit a sac fly to right on a 1-2 cutter from Wade Davis to bring Zimmerman in and give the Nationals led 2-1 over the Royals in the fourth. Harper scored when Tyler Moore doubled to left after an intentional walk to Adam LaRoche and Chad Tracy hit a blooper over short in the at bat that followed and when it fell in to short left two more runs scored to make it 5-1 in the Nationals' favor.
Mike Moustakas hit a bloop single to left to start the Royals' fourth, but Justin Maxwell K'd swinging at a 2-2 slider for his second K in two at bats and Jordan Zimmermann's fourth in 3 1/3. Zimmermann backheeled an 0-2 slider to get David Lough swinging for out no.2 and K no.5, but George Kottaras singled to right with two down to put two on with two out. Wilson Ramos let a fastball get by him on a wild pitch that advanced both runners into scoring position, but Alcides Escobar grounded out to third to end the fourth. 14-pitch inning, 61 overall for Zimmermann.
Wade Davis set the Nationals down in order in a quick top of the fifth. A groundout to short, pop to short and grounder to first got Jordan Zimmermann three quick outs from Alex Gordon, Emilio Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer in a 10-pitch bottom of the inning that had him up to 71 overall after five. Wilson Ramos singled to center to start the Nationals' sixth and scored when Ian Desmond took a 2-2 cutter from Davis out to left for a two-run home run and a 7-1 lead over the Royals in the sixth. A 16-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning ended with Jordan Zimmermann abusing Justin Maxwell with sliders for Maxwell's third and Zimmermann's sixth strikeout of the night. 87 pitches for Zimmermann.
Luke Hochevar took over for Wade Davis in the top of the seventh and set the Nationals down in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning. Jordan Zimmermann needed two pitches to get the first out of the Royals' half of the inning on a fly to right by David Lough that Bryce Harper tracked and caught. An 0-2 change got George Kottaras swinging for out no.2 and Zimmermann's seventh K and ninth straight out. Alcides Escobar's groundout to third ended a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh that left Zimmermann at 96 overall on the night.
After Luke Hochevar's second scoreless inning in relief, Jordan Zimmermann got a line drive to Adam LaRoche at first with a 1-0 change to Alex Gordon for the first out of the Royals' eighth. Zimmermann missed outside with a full-count fastball to Emilio Bonifacio to break a streak of 11-straight batters retired with a one-out walk, his first of the game. Eric Hosmer's grounder back to the mound moved Bonifacio to second. Billy Butler hit a two-out infield single to short that Ian Desmond pocketed when he got to it. With runners on first and third, Davey Johnson went to the pen for Fernando Abad against Mike Moustakas, lefty vs lefty. Moustakas hit a 2-1 two-seamer to right to bring Bonifacio around and make it a 7-2 game in the bottom of the eighth. Abad made a bad mistake, walking Justin Maxwell with two down to load the bases for David Lough. Abad got up 0-2 quickly and got the Royals' center fielder to chase a curve into the dirt for strike three.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 114P, 78 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Luke Hochevar came back out for a third inning of work in the ninth. Tyler Moore reached on an error by Emilio Bonifacio, but the Royals' right-hander got three quick outs to keep it 7-2 after eighth and a half. Tyler Clippard came out for the bottom of the inning. George Kottaras popped out to second. Alcides Escobar did the same. Alex Gordon flew out to center to end it. 7-2 Nationals.
Nationals now 65-64