Jordan Zimmermann took the mound against Miami tonight in Nationals Park with an (11-3) record in his adopted home in Washington, D.C. in 2013. The Nationals' 27-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick out of Auburndale, Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Stevens Point, had a 2.82 ERA, a 3.24 FIP, 24 walks (1.93 BB/9) and 80 Ks (6.45 K/9) in 17 starts and 111 2/3 IP in the nation's capital, over which he'd held opposing hitters to a .232/.275/.353 line. Another win over the Marlins tonight would give the Nats eight straight against their NL East rivals in D.C. this season and would also give the defending NL East champs reason to believe they were still in the race for the second Wild Card spot in the National League with nine games left on the schedule.
Zimmermann threw a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 first in the opening frame of tonight's game, striking out the second and third batter's he faced in the second game of four in the final series of the year with the Marlins. After the Nationals went down in order in the bottom of the inning, Justin Ruggiano was the third straight Miami hitter to strike out when he K'd swinging through a 3-2 slider for the first out of the second. Ed Lucas took an 0-2 slider knee-high outside for a called strike three and the fourth straight K. Logan Morrison was powerless to stop Zimmermann, whose second scoreless inning ended after 15 pitches when the Fish outfielder K'd swinging through a 96 mph 1-2 heater. Two scoreless innings on 24 pitches. Wilson Ramos hit a two-out single off 22-year-old Marlins' starter Jacob Turner in the Nationals' second, sending Adam LaRoche, who'd walked, around to third, but the Nats' catcher got thrown out at second trying to move up on the throw in. 0-0 after two.
Jordan Zimmermann finally took a moment on the mound to slow things down in a 2-2 count against Jeff Mathis with one out in the top of the third. Miami's catcher K'd on a check swing strike three when the Nats' starter threw a 95 mph fastball by him for his 6th K in 2 2/3 IP. The opposing pitcher's swinging bunt ended a 12-pitch inning that ended with Zimmermann at 36 overall after three scoreless. Anthony Rendon wouldn't let Jacob Turner jam him. The Nationals' rookie second baseman singled to right on a fly ball off his fists for a leadoff hit in the Nats' second. Zimmermann faked a bunt and tried to send a hit-and-run single through short, but Fish shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria got an out at first with an admirable effort and an across-his-body throw. Hechavarria stumbled on the lip of the infield grass and turned his ankle as he came to a stop, but he still managed to throw Ryan Zimmerman out at first to end the Nats' third.
0-0 in D.C.
Donovan Solano was the tenth straight Marlin set down when he grounded back to the mound on an 0-2 slider. Chris Coghlan was the eleventh straight and the seventh to strike out when he went down swinging over an 0-2 slider low and inside from Jordan Zimmermann. Giancarlo Stanton got ahead in the count and walked on a 3-1 pitch in the dirt to end Zimmermann's bid for a perfect game, but his no-hit bid was in tact when he struck Justin Ruggiano out with a brutal 1-2 slider outside. 8 Ks. 18-pitch inning for 54 overall. Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond singled to center with two down in the Nationals' fourth, but Jacob Turner matched Zimmermann with four scoreless when Adam LaRoche flew to left to end the bottom of the inning.
Anthony Rendon made a sliding backhand play and a strong throw to first base to get Ed Lucas for the first out of the top of the fifth. Logan Morrison grounded out weakly to second on a 95 mph 2-2 heater. Denard Span tracked down a weak fly to center. Jordan Zimmermann set 15 of 16 down to start the second game of four with Miami. 67 pitches overall after a 13-pitch fifth. 0-0 after four and a half innings in D.C. Jacob Turner had fewer Ks, but was more efficient with five scoreless on 58 pitches after a 10-pitch frame. 0-0 after five.
Jeff Mathis flew out to Denard Span in center field. Anthony Rendon fielded a sharp one-hop liner to second and threw Jacob Turner out. Donovan Solano fell behind Jordan Zimmermann 0-2 and lined a high fastball to center for the first hit of the game by the Marlins. Chris Coghlan grounded into an inning-ending force at second though, and Zimmermann had six scoreless on 76 pitches after a nine-pitch frame.
Denard Span singled and went first-to-third™ on a single through short by Ryan Zimmerman. Both runners scored when Jayson Werth doubled to left in the next at bat and it was 2-0 Nats in the sixth in D.C. Bryce Harper hit the second straight double into the right-center gap to bring Werth in and make it 3-0. Harper took third on a groundout by Ian Desmond, after a walk to Adam LaRoche ended Jacob Turner's night, and scored on a one-out single to center off Marlins' reliever Chris Hatcher by Wilson Ramos. 4-0. LaRoche took third on the hit by Ramos and scored on an RBI single by Anthony Rendon. 5-0 Nats. Denard Span's two-out, two-run triple to right made it 7-0 Nationals after six in D.C.
Given a seven-run lead to work with, Jordan Zimmermann threw a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh vs the Marlins which left him at 85 pitches overall after seven scoreless. Jayson Werth walked to start the bottom of the inning then scored on Ian Desmond's 38th double of 2013. Desmond's liner into the left-center gap made it 8-0 Nats after seven in D.C.
Zimmermann's eighth scoreless inning ended after seven pitches when he struck Jeff Mathis out with an 0-2 curve for the ninth K of the night by the Nats' right-hander. 92 pitches total after eight in D.C. 8-0 Nationals. Marlins' lefty Brad Hand retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Jordan Zimmermann got a line drive to right by Jake Marisnick that Denard Span caught. Donovan Solano lined out to short. Chris Coghlan's two-out single to right was just out of a diving Anthony Rendon's reach. Giancarlo Stanton grounded out to second. Ballgame. Complete game, two-hit shutout.
• Jordan Zimmermann's line: 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 107 P, 79 S, 10/1 GO/FO.
Nationals now 83-71