Nationals drop 6-2 decision to Phillies: Jordan Zimmermann leaves start with undisclosed injury

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals dropped a 6-2 decision to the Philadelphia Phillies in the series opener in Citizens Bank Park, but the big news of the night was that Jordan Zimmermann left the game early with an as-yet undisclosed injury...

Citizens Bank Park Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: In the span of four pitches in the bottom of the second tonight, the Philadelphia Phillies connected for three straight hits with Jimmy Rollins and Cody Asche singling and Domonic Brown driving them both in with a two-run double to center field in Citizens Bank Park for a 2-0 lead early in the series opener with the Washington Nationals.

Grady Sizemore connected for his first hit as a Phillie in his second at bat and scored when Jimmy Rollins homered to right in the next at bat, giving the home team a 4-0 lead early in CBP. Rollins' blast was the first home run off Zimmermann in 33 IP.

Zimmermann left the game in the the fourth with an apparent, but as-yet undisclosed injury, sending the nation's capital's baseball fans into a panic...

The Phillies added to their lead in the sixth. Marlon Byrd doubled with one down and scored from second one out later, after a walk to Domonic Brown, when Phillies' catcher Cameron Rupp doubled off the left field wall to drive a run in, but a relayed throw from Bryce Harper to Danny Espinosa and on to Wilson Ramos ended the inning with the score 5-0 Phillies.

Bryce Harper snapped an 0 for 15 streak at the plate with a solo home run to right in the first at bat of the Nats' seventh, taking a 1-0 sinker from A.J. Burnett for a ride and a no-doubter. Home run no.2 of 2014 for the Nationals' 21-year-old slugger.

Jimmy Rollins hit his second home run of the game on Craig Stammen's 41st pitch of the night, giving the Phillies a 6-1 lead.

Ryan Zimmerman drove in a run with a two-out double to left off Phillies' reliever Ken Giles, who took over for A.J. Burnett after the Philly starter issued two walks in the top of the eighth. 6-2.

That's how it ended...

4. All-Star Zim(n): Before he was announced as a 2014 NL All-Star for the second time last Sunday afternoon, 28-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann threw six scoreless innings on the mound against the Chicago Cubs in a 2-1 win in Nationals Park in which he received no decision.

"I think it's the slider," Matt Williams said. "I think he found the slider and it just gives him another weapon. Today he didn't throw it great." -Matt Williams on Jordan Zimmermann's success in recent starts

Though he wasn't at his best, Nats' skipper Matt Williams noted after the game that Zimmermann was able to limit the damage all afternoon.

"Jordan's pitch count got way up there," Williams said. "He got into trouble and wiggled out all day. He made pitches when he had to."

The outing in the nation's capital left Zimmermann with a (3-2) record and a 1.26 ERA in his last seven starts and 50 IP, over which he's walked seven (1.26 BB/9), struck out 46 (8.28 K/9) and held opposing hitters to a combined .204/.233/.260 line.

Overall on the year, the Nationals' '07 2nd Round pick was (6-4) with a 2.79 ERA, a 2.71 FIP, 20 walks (1.64 BB/9) and 96 Ks (7.88 K/9) in 18 starts and 109 ⅔ IP before taking the mound tonight in Philadelphia.

On the road, heading into tonight's start against the Phillies, Zimmermann was (3-2) in seven starts with a 2.63 ERA, 2.70 FIP, seven walks (1.31 BB/9) and 48 Ks (9.00 K/9) in 48 IP, in which he held opposing hitters to a .225/.259/.354 line.

In Citizens Bank Park, Zimmermann was (2-3) in five starts before tonight's, with a 4.28 ERA, seven walks (2.30 BB/9) and 19 Ks (6.26 K/9) in 27 ⅓ IP, with Phillies' hitters putting up a combined .324/.370/.523 line against him.

Against the Nationals' NL East rivals from the City of Brotherly Love in his career, Zimmermann took the mound tonight with a (5-5) record in 11 starts, over which he's put up a .3.48 ERA with 17 walks (2.27 BB/9) and 42 Ks (5.61 K/9) in 67 ⅓ IP in which Phillies' hitters have a .280/.331/.418 line.

Start no.6 of the Auburndale, Wisconsin-born starter's career in Philadelphia began with...

1st: Recently-called up leadoff man Grady Sizemore made his Phillies' debut, grounding out to short to start the home-half of the first. Jimmy Rollins rolled one out to second. Chase Utley stepped in with two out and sent a fly to deep center where Denard Span caught out no.3. Nine-pitch inning. 0-0 after one.

2nd: Ryan Howard fell behind 0-2 and K'd swinging at brutal 1-2 slider that Zimmermann threw at his back foot. Marlon Byrd hit a low liner by Danny Espinosa at short on a first-pitch fastball. Cody Asche stepped in with a runner on and lined a second straight single to center field. Domonic Brown got the Phillies' first RBI opportunity, and came through with a two-run double to center that gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Catcher Cameron Rupp and A.J. Burnett K'd swinging in consecutive at bats to end a 16-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 25 total after two.

3rd: Grady Sizemore singled to right to start the Phillies' third and scored on a towering fly to right by Jimmy Rollins, whose two-run home run gave Philadelphia a 4-0 lead. Chase Utley lined to center for the third straight hit. Ryan Howard grounded out to first for the first out of the inning, moving Utley up. Marlon Byrd chased a 2-2 slider outside for out no.2. Cody Asche chased a 94 mph 1-2 heater outside. 20-pitch frame, 45 total for Zimmermann after three.

4th: Domonic Brown popped out to third to start the bottom of the fourth. After a 1-2 pitch to Philly catcher Cameron Rupp, Zimmermann called to the dugout, was visited on the mound by Steve McCatty, Matt Williams and the team trainer and left the game with an apparent injury...

• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 53 P, 36 S, 3/1 GO/FO.

3. Burnett vs Burnett: In his first start of the season against the Washington Nationals, Phillies' starter A.J. Burnett, who signed a 2-year/$22.5M deal to pitch in Philadelphia this past February, held Philly's NL East rivals from the nation's capital to one run on three hits in 7-2 win in Citizens Bank Park. Burnett was not as sharp next time out against the Nationals.

"He was pinpoint that day," Williams said. "And he was pinpoint early tonight too. Comeback fastball against the righties away..." -Matt Williams on Burnett vs the Nationals in two 2014 starts

In a June 4th outing in Washington, however, the 37-year-old, 16-year veteran surrendered 10 hits, four walks and eight earned runs in six innings of work against the Nationals in an 8-4 loss. That start began for Burnett with three scoreless inning, but the Nats' hitters got to the right-hander in the fourth, scoring four runs in that frame and then adding four more in the next two innings.

"I thought he lost a little bit of command," Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters after the game.

"He started to get behind some guys. That's the secret to pitching effectively, is getting ahead. And hitting effectively is taking advantage of a mistake behind in the count. That's the way the games are played out every day. We got ourselves in a position to score some runs and the guys took care of it."

Asked what was different for Burnett in his first start against the Nationals, Williams again cited his command.

"He was pinpoint that day," Williams said. "And he was pinpoint early tonight too. Comeback fastball against the righties away and in the middle innings there we were able to get to him."

Burnett's two starts against the Nationals this season left him (9-4) against the franchise in his career, with a 3.43 ERA in 19 games, 18 starts and 126 IP over which he's walked 37 (2.64 BB/9), struck out 120 (8.57 K/9) and held Expos/Nationals' hitters to a combined .243/.305/.356 line.

On the year, in the first year of his two-year deal with the Phillies, Burnett was (5-8) with a 3.92 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 53 walks and 102 Ks in 19 starts and 124 IP.

At home in Citizens Bank Park, he started tonight's game with a 3.53 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 27 walks (4.14 BB/9) and 51 Ks (7.82 K/9) in 58 ⅔ IP in which he held visiting teams' hitters to a combined .227/.320/.363 line.

Denard Span singled to start the game, but was doubled up on an Anthony Rendon grounder to short and Jayson Werth K'd swinging to end a 10-pitch first by Burnett.

Adam LaRoche doubled to the right-center gap to start the second, taking a 1-0 changeup from Burnett for a ride. Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman moved LaRoche over to third with a groundout to second. Bryce Harper's grounder failed to advance the runner, however, and Wilson Ramos' K ended a nine-pitch inning that left Burnett at 19 total after two scoreless.

Denard Span reached base on a two-out error by Ryan Howard at first (ruled a hit), then stole his 15th base of the season in the next at bat, but a pop in front of the plate off Anthony Rendon's bat ended Burnett's third scoreless after 14 pitches. 33 total.

Given a four-run lead to work with, Burnett returned to the mound in the fourth and retired Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche before putting Ryan Zimmerman on with a two-out walk. Bryce Harper's grounder to first ended a 20-pitch frame. 53 total for Burnett after four scoreless.

Wilson Ramos singled to start the Nats' fourth, but he was erased from the basepaths when Danny Espinosa grounded into a force at second, and Espinosa was stranded two outs later at the end of a 13-pitch frame by Burnett, who was up to 66 pitches after five scoreless.

Jayson Werth walked with one out in the sixth, but two outs later he was stranded at second at the end of a 14-pitch frame by Burnett. 80 pitches total after six scoreless.

Bryce Harper broke up Burnett's shutout and broke an 0 for 15 stretch at the plate with a solo home run to right in the top of the seventh. Five pitches later, the Phillies' starter was through a seven-pitch frame at 87 pitches overall.

Anthony Rendon walked with one down in the top of the eighth, but was forced out at second on a grounder to short by Jayson Werth. A two-out walk to Adam LaRoche ended Burnett's outing.

A.J. Burnett's Line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 53 P, 36 S, 11/2 GO/FO.

• 2 A. Nats vs Phillies - Fun with arbitrary end points: In the last 54 games between Washington and Philadelphia, the Nationals were 33-21 heading into this weekend's three-game, first-half ending set in Citizens Bank Park.

Overall, however, the Phillies held a 98-73 mark against the Nationals since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005. So far this season, the Nats held a 4-2 advantage in the first six games of 19 the two teams will play this season, sweeping the three-game set in the nation's capital after dropping two of three to the Phillies the first time they visited CBP.

2 B. Streak Watch: Wilson Ramos entered tonight's game with a 13-game hit streak going, over which the Nationals' 26-year-old catcher was 19 for 46 (.388/.434/.592) with four doubles and two home runs. Against the Phillies in his career, the Nats' backstop began the series with a .349/.398/.560 line, five doubles and six home runs in 33 games and 119 PAs against Washington's NL East rivals with a .289/.347/.533 line, two doubles and three home runs in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

With a single in his second at bat, Ramos extended his hit streak to 14 games, but he was forced out at second in the at bat that followed...

1. The Wrap-Up: Craig Stammen retired Cameron Rupp with one pitch after taking over on the mound for Jordan Zimmermann with one down in the fourth and Stammen finished off the Phillies by striking out A.J. Burnett.

Stammen came back out for the bottom of the fifth and retired the Phillies in order in a quick, 10-pitch frame.

Marlon Byrd doubled to right off Stammen with one down in the Phillies' sixth. Domonic Brown walked with two down. Cameron Rupp lined to left and off the wall on an 0-1 fastball from Stammen. Byrd scored to make it 5-0 Phillies, but a relayed throw from Bryce Harper to Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos at home got Brown at the plate for the final out of the inning.

Jimmy Rollins took a first pitch fastball to right for a solo home run on Stammen's 41st pitch of the night with two down in the home-half of the seventh, 6-1 Phillies.

Ken Giles took over on the mound for the Phillies with two on and two out in the top of the eighth. Ryan Zimmerman lined to left to drive Jayson Werth in from second and make it a 6-2 game, but Bryce Harper popped out to end the threat.

Jerry Blevins retired the Phillies in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Giles came back out for the top of the ninth. Wilson Ramos sent a fly ball to right for out no.1. Danny Espinosa K'd swinging. Pinch hitter Nate McLouth lined out to left to end it. Ballgame.

Nationals now 49-42

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