Bryce Harper Day in D.C. Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Bryce Harper received an extended ovation from the hometown crowd in Washington, D.C. before stepping to the plate tonight in Nationals Park in the series opener with the Colorado Rockies for the first time since April 25th when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. Harper grounded into an inning ending DP in that AB, but the second time up Ryan Zimmerman was standing on second after a two-out double when Harper sent an RBI single over the mound and up the middle to bring Zimmerman in for a 1-0 Nationals' lead.
Jordan Zimmermann started the game with five scoreless, but back-to-back doubles by Rockies' center fielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki tied things up in a hurry in the top of the sixth. Tulowitzki took third on a Justin Morneau single and scored on a sac fly to center by Ryan Wheeler in spite of a nice catch and throw home by Denard Span. 2-1 Rockies after five and a half.
After falling behind in the top of the sixth, the Nationals rallied in the home-half of the inning. Anthony Rendon singled. Jayson Werth walked. One out later, Ryan Zimmerman's line drive to left brought Span around. 2-2.
A walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases for Ian Desmond, and Desmond's double to left cleared them. Three runs scored to make it 5-2 Nats and Desmond stole third and scored too on a Wilson Ramos grounder to make it 6-2 in the sixth.
Troy Tulowitzki walked with one down in the eighth, took third on a Justin Morneau single and scored on a wild pitch by Aaron Barrett to make it 7-3.
That's how it ended. Nationals 7-3 final.
4. Zimmermann vs Rockies: Jordan Zimmermann has successfully put a rough month of May behind him. In five June starts before tonight's against Colorado in the nation's capital, the 28-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick put up a 1.18 ERA (down from 5.06 in May), a 1.95 FIP (down from 3.63), five walks (1.61 BB/9) and 36 Ks (11.57 K/9) in 28 IP over which the right-hander held opposing hitters to a .170/.201/.224 line, down from .342/.376/.477 in 26 ⅔ IP last month.
Tonight in D.C., Zimmermann was facing a Colorado team that entered the three-game series with a .285/.336/.458 line, good for 1st in the NL in AVG, OBP and SLG.
Historically, though, Zimmermann has fared well against the Rockies, going (4-0) in six starts with a 1.42 ERA, 12 walks (2.82 BB/9) and 29 Ks (6.87 K/9) in 38 IP in which Colorado hitters have up up a .232/.289/.254 line.
Zimmermann's first start against the Rockies this season began with a single to center field...
1st: Charlie Blackmon dumped a leadoff single into center field in the first at bat of the game. Drew Stubbs K'd looking at a 94 mph 1-2 fastball inside for out no.1. Troy Tulowitzki popped up behind home for out no.2. Justin Morneau stepped in with one on and two out, and sent one back to the mound and off Zimmermann for a single, but when it bounced into short left, Bryce Harper came up throwing and almost caught Morneau in a rundown. Zimmermann got Wilin Rosario swinging in the next at bat, however, bringing a 19-pitch first to an end.
2nd: Ryan Wheeler lined out to right to start the Rockies' second. An 0-2 slider sent Brandon Barnes back to the bench. DJ LeMahieu stepped up with two down and rolled one out to second to end a 14-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 33 total after two.
3rd: Yohan Flande walked to start Colorado's third. Charlie Blackmon grounded out to first to move the pitcher up, but a fly to right from Drew Stubbs gave Zimmermann two quick outs. Troy Tulowitzki had a runner in scoring position when he stepped up with two down, but he took a low fastball outside for a called third strike that home plate umpire Joe West liked. 12-pitch inning, 45 overall.
4th: Justin Morneau popped out to third. Wilin Rosario lined out to left on a first-pitch slider. A 90 mph 2-2 fastball to Ryan Wheeler ended Jordan Zimmermann's fourth scoreless frame after nine pitches with the right-hander at 54 total on the night.
5th: Brandon Barnes bunted his way on in spite of a strong effort by Ryan Zimmerman. With DJ LeMahieu up, Barnes was caught trying to steal second, however, thrown out by Wilson Ramos. LeMahieu singled to right with one down. Yohan Flande bunted LeMahieu over/gave up the second out. Charlie Blackmon battled for six pitches before grounding out to second. 13-pitch frame. 67 total.
6th: Drew Stubbs hit a ground-rule double to center in the first at bat of the sixth, sending a screamer onto the batters' eye on a bounce, just out of Denard Span's reach. A double to left by Troy Tulowitzki bounced off the wall and drove in the Rockies' first run. 1-1. Justin Morneau's line drive single to center moved Tulowitzki to third, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Wilin Rosario stepped in with the go-ahead run 90 ft from home and popped out to short. Ryan Wheeler lined to center with one down and Span caught it coming and threw a strike home to beat Tulowitzki, only to have Ramos drop it. 2-1 Rockies. Brandon Barnes' lineout to right ended a 20-pitch frame. 87 total for Zimmermann after six.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 87 P, 60 S, 4/2 GO/FO...
• 3. Yohan Flande: 28-year-old lefty Yohan Flande made 163 starts and was seven and a ⅓ innings short of 1,000 IP in the minors with the Phillies, Braves and Rockies before he made his MLB debut with Colorado last week in Coors Field. In that outing against the St. Louis Cardinals, the 6'2'' southpaw gave up six hits, a walk and four earned runs in five innings.
Flande was unphased by the big stage, telling reporters including MLB.com's Thomas Harding, through an interpreter, that it was just another trip to the mound.
"'I was relaxed because I've been pitching for a long time,'" he said. "'I treated it like all those days in the Minors.'"
In his first road start for the Rockies tonight, Flande was facing a team that's hit well against lefties so far this season.
The Nationals entered the series opener with Colorado in the nation's capital with a .282/.342/.411 good for 2nd in AVG behind the Rockies (.286 AVG vs LHPs), 1st in OBP (ahead of the Rockies' .337) and 4th in SLG (tied with the Giants and Brewers behind the Phillies, .414, Braves, .435 and Rockies, .469).
Flande retired the side in order in the first, setting Denard Span, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth down in a quick, 13-pitch frame.
Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman lined to right for the Nationals' first hit off Flande, but Bryce Harper, in his first at bat off the Disabled List, grounded into an inning-ending DP. Eight-pitch inning for the Rockies' starter, 21 total after two.
Ian Desmond doubled off the GEICO wall in center to start the Nationals' third. Wilson Ramos sent a chopper to short that Troy Tulowitzki couldn't scoop up. Jordan Zimmermann bunted Ramos over/gave up an out and Denard Span popped up to left for out no.2. Anthony Rendon's groundout to short ended a 10-pitch inning that left Flande at 31 total after three.
Ryan Zimmerman doubled on a line drive to left with two down in the Nats' fourth, and Bryce Harper followed with an RBI single to center on an 0-1 slider to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. 23-pitch fourth for Flande, 54 total after four.
Flande retired Wilson Ramos, Jordan Zimmermann and Denard Span in order in a 15-pitch fifth that left him at 69 total after five.
Given a 2-1 lead to work with, Flande took the mound in the sixth and gave up a leadoff, line drive single to left by Anthony Rendon. Jayson Werth walked to put two on with no outs. Adam LaRoche battled for seven pitches before striking out... and the Rockies' went to the pen...
• Yohan Flande's Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 87 P, 54 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
2. Lineup ?s Answered-ish: At the end of a post game press conference during the last homestand, Nationals' skipper Matt Williams was asked by a reporter if he'd thought at all about finally having all of the players he planned on having play every day this season available for the first time since Opening Day. Wilson Ramos returned to the lineup during the last homestand after recovering from a hamstring injury, and today Bryce Harper was reinstated from the DL.
At that point, however, Williams wasn't willing to go there.
"I'm going to knock on wood and I would respectfully decline to answer that questions if it's okay," the first-year skipper joked. But he really wasn't answering.
"Because I've been in baseball a long time," he said. "And I understand that we've got a long way to go so we'll keep playing them."
Given the opportunity to fill out the lineup card with all of his options available, Williams went back to the way things started. Ryan Zimmerman back at third. Anthony Rendon back at second. Bryce Harper back in left. Danny Espinosa back on the bench.
Williams said today it could change day to day depending upon availability, matchups and any injury or availability issues, but for tonight at least, he penciled in the lineup he wanted to have all year.
Bryce Harper bobble head night. pic.twitter.com/9Pcgn70wDw— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 30, 2014
• Harper on lineup:
"It’s today’s lineup," he told reporters, including NatsInsider.com's Chase Hughes.
"It may change tomorrow, we don’t know, depending on what happens tonight. I’m going to knock on wood again and say we hope that everybody that’s back now is back for the rest of the year.
1. The Wrap-Up: Rob Scahill took over on the mound for Yohan Flande with two on and one out in the Nationals' sixth. Ryan Zimmerman stepped in against the right-hander and doubled to left to bring Rendon around and send Werth to third. The Rockies walked Bryce Harper, loading the bases to get to Ian Desmond, and Desmond made them pay with a base-clearing line drive to left that made it 5-2 Nationals. Desmond scored on a grounder to second by Wilson Ramos, 6-2.
Drew Storen took the mound for the Nats in the seventh. Corey Dickerson singled with one down, but was doubled up on a Charlie Blackmon line drive to third when Ryan Zimmerman caught it and threw across the infield for the 5-3 inning-ending DP.
GIF: Remember how Ryan Zimmerman won a Gold Glove at third base? We do: http://t.co/4aQqS6wcvL— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 1, 2014
Aaron Barrett gave up a run on wild pitch in the Rockies' eighth, but limited the damage.
Jerry Blevins worked a scoreless ninth. Ballgame.
Nationals now 44-38