Jordan Zimmermann has faced the New York Mets more than any other team in the majors. In 14 career starts before tonight's against the Washington's NL East rivals, the Nationals' 27-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick was (3-4) with a 3.05 ERA, 8 HRs (0.91 HR/9), 19 walks (2.15 BB/9), 66 Ks (7.46 K/9) and a 1.16 WHIP over 79.2 IP against NY. A win in the first game of three in D.C. and Zimmermann would have the second-highest win total in the Nats' franchise history in the nation's capital, tied with Stephen Strasburg, who won 15 last season and right-hander Livan Hernandez, who won 15 in the team's inaugural campaign in Washington in 2005 behind only Gio Gonzalez's 21 wins in 2012.
In 15 starts in Nationals Park this season, Jordan Zimmermann was (10-2) coming into tonight's game, with a 2.78 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 21 walks and 67 Ks in 97 IP in which opposing hitters had put up a .229/273/.348 line, but the two losses in D.C. had come in his last four outings at home, breaking a streak of twenty-three straight starts in D.C. in which he hadn't been on the losing end of a decision going back to a May 17, 2012 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Even with the two losses last month, however, Zimmermann was still 15-2 with a 3.12 ERA in his last 26 starts at home in Nationals Park going back to last June, with Washington 20-6 in those starts as the Nats' pregame notes noted. After the right-hander threw an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 third to retire his ninth straight batter after the leadoff walk that starter the game, Zimmermann had three scoreless innings on 35 pitches. And he had a 1-0 lead to work with after three in Nats Park courtesy of Wilson Ramos, who improved to 32 for 69 (.464 AVG) with 5 HRs in 21 career games vs the Mets when he hit a 1-1 slider from Dillon Gee into the left field bullpen in Nationals Park for his 9th home run of 2013 and a one-run lead after three in the series opener in D.C.
The Nationals' lead didn't last long, however. One out after a leadoff single by third by Daniel Murphy started New York's fourth, Mets' first baseman Ike Davis hit a first-pitch change out to left and into the visitor's bullpen for a two-run opposite field home run. Zimmermann's 15-pitch inning had him up to 50 pitches overall after four innings of work. Dillon Gee needed 53 pitches to get through four and he had 10 ground ball outs overall after Ian Desmond rolled one out to third to end the Nationals' half of the inning.
Jordan Zimmermann threw back-to-back nine-pitch innings in the fifth and sixth innings, leaving him at 68 overall after six innings of work. Dillon Gee had 13 ground ball outs and a 2-1 lead after six innings when Bryce Harper grounded out to second to end the Nationals' half of the frame with the Nats' 13th groundout of the game. Zimmermann's 10-pitch seventh had him up to just 78 overall after six.
Dillon Gee retired the Nats in order in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Mets took took their 2-1 lead into the eighth. Daniel Murphy was 2 for 4 tonight after doubling to left with two down in the top of the eighth inning, and he ended up scoring on a sharp grounder to third by Andrew Brown. Ryan Zimmerman made the play behind the third base bag, but fired an ill-advised overhand throw to first base that pulled Adam LaRoche off the bag and allowed Murphy to keep running and score the Mets' third run. 3-1 after seven and a half.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 71 S, 9/3 GO/FO
Dillon Gee got his fourteenth ground ball out of the game and two quick outs in the Nationals' eighth before utility man Steve Lombardozzi homered to right in a pinch hit appearance, bouncing a 1-0 fastball inside from the Mets' right-hander off the back wall of the home team's bullpen to cut New York's lead in half. 3-2. An infield single by Denard Span put the tying run on with two down and Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single of his own to put two on with two out and Bryce Harper due up. Gee's start ended there, with Scott Rice coming on to face Harper, lefty vs lefty. Rice fell behind 3-0, but got a foul ball when Harper swung 3-0 and missed. Harper rolled the next pitch out to second and the Mets took their 3-2 lead to the ninth.
Ryan Mattheus gave up a one-out single by Travis D'Arnaud in the Mets' ninth, but got a 4-6-3 inning-ending DP out of Omar Quintanilla to keep it a 3-2 game after eight and a half. LaTroy Hawkins took over for the Mets in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Nationals in order to earn the save. 3-2 Mets final.
Nationals now 68-66