Jordan Zimmermann went 7 2/3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers back on May 14th in Dodger Stadium in LA, giving up nine hits and two runs in a 6-2 win on the road. Clayton Kershaw beat the Washington Nationals the next night, holding the visiting Nats to five hits and one walk in 8 2/3 scoreless in which he struck out 11. The two starters went head-to-head this afternoon in the nation's capital in the finale of the three-game set in Nationals Park.
Zimmermann entered the game unbeaten at home at (9-0) in 11 starts in 2013, over which he'd posted a 1.75 ERA, and he had a streak of 22 starts in D.C. since his last home loss back in mid-May 2012. Over that stretch of starts, the 27-year-old right-hander was (14-0) with a 2.60 ERA and the Nationals were 18-3 with the '08 2nd Round pick on the mound. This afternoon's game started with back-to-back one-out singles by Dodgers' infielders Nick Punto and Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the first, but Hanley Ramirez lined out to Scott Hairston in left field and Andre Ethier lined weakly to short left where Ian Desmond's catch ended an 18-pitch opening frame.
Clayton Kershaw blew Bryce Harper away with a 94 mph, full-count four-seamer for the first out of the Nats' first. Anthony Rendon took a low 94 mph 0-2 heater for a called strike three from the 25-year-old left-hander and Ryan Zimmerman flew out to left on the first pitch he saw to end a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 inning for the Dodgers' starter. 0-0 after one.
Matt Kemp returned from the DL in time for today's game and in the 28-year-old outfielder's first major league at bat since June 5th, he took a 2-2 slider from Jordan Zimmermann deeeeep to left and onto the concourse that leads to the Center Field Gate in Nationals Park on one hop for a solo home run that made it 1-0 LA. A.J. Ellis singled to right in the next at bat and took third on a double to left by Mark Ellis that put runners on second and third. A groundout by Clayton Kershaw brought A.J. Ellis in and an RBI single by Carl Crawford made it 3-0 early. Zimmermann walked Nick Punto, but struck Adrian Gonzalez out for the second out of the inning, before he could escape the second, however, Hanley Ramirez demolished an 0-1 slider, sending a three-run home run soaring out into the visitor's bullpen in left for a 6-0 Dodgers' lead. Make that 7-0. Kemp doubled in a run in his second at bat of the inning. 40-pitch inning for Zimmermann. 58 pitches after two.
Jayson Werth got hold of a 2-1 fastball from Clayton Kershaw and hit a solo home run to the back of the left field bullpen to get the Nationals on the board in the bottom of the second, 7-1 LA. The Dodgers' lefty got the next three batters in order to end a 15-pitch bottom of the inning at 29 overall after two.
Jordan Zimmermann's shortest start in the majors ended after 2.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HR, 58 P, 39 S, 2/0 GO/FO. Ross Ohlendorf took over in the top of the third. Carl Crawford got greedy after doubling to right off the Nats' right-hander in his two-out at bat and Crawford got thrown out on a 9-4-5 relay from Jayson Werth to Anthony Rendon and on to Ryan Zimmerman at third. Quick, 10-pitch inning for Ohlendorf.
Clayton Kershaw's 13-pitch, 1-2-3 third had him at 42 pitches overall, up 7-1 after three in D.C.
Back-to-back, one-out singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez put runners on the corners in the Dodgers' fourth and an RBI groundout by Andre Ethier brought Gonzalez in to make it an 8-1 game. Matt Kemp's third hit of the game in three at bats was an RBi single to left that scored Hanley Ramirez to make it 9-1 Dodgers. 3 for 3, HR, RBI double and RBI single for the returning Dodgers' outfielder. Eight-run lead for LA after three and a half. Clayton Kershaw's five-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth saw him set down his seventh, eighth and ninth-straight batters after Jayson Werth's leadoff home run in the second. 47 pitches overall after four.
Ross Ohlendorf gave up a single by Mark Ellis in the first at bat of the fifth. Carl Crawford walked with one down to put two runners on, but Nick Punto flew harmlessly to left and Adrian Gonzalez popped up Ryan Zimmerman to end the top of the inning. Still 9-1 LA. Adam LaRoche reached on an error in the first at bat of the Nationals' fifth and he took second on a wild pitch by Kershaw, but two outs later he was stranded there after Scott Hairston lined out to third and Kurt Suzuki K'd swinging. 15-pitch inning. 62 Dodgers after five.
After an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the sixth, Ross Ohlendorf was up to 59 pitches in 4.0 IP, one more than Jordan Zimmermann threw in two innings of work. Clayton Kershaw's 16-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth had him at 78 overall after six innings of work in which he'd allowed just one hit, Jayson Werth's home run. 9-1 LA. Ohlendorf needed just 13 pitches to set the Dodgers down in order in the seventh.
The Nats' first hit of the game was the Werth solo home run in the second. The Nationals' second hit of the game was a one-out home run by Jayson Werth in the seventh that made it a 9-2 game. Werth took a 94 mph 1-2 fastball to left-center and over the #NATITUDE wall for a solo blast into the Red Porch seats that got Washington within seven after seven. Ross Ohlendorf came back out for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single before retiring the next three Dodgers in order to complete his sixth inning of relief work.
Clayton Kershaw's line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 97 P, 68 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Brandon League took over for LA in the bottom of the eighth. Kurt Suzuki singled with one down, took second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout, but he was stranded there when Bryce Harper K'd swinging, leaving him 0 for 4 on the day vs LA. Matt Kemp was 3 for 4 with a HR, double, RBI single and a walk on the day after Fernando Abad put him on with one down in the top of the ninth. Mark Ellis singled with two two down to put two on for Brandon League, and the opposing pitcher walked to load the bases. Carl Crawford grounded to first, but Abad wasn't over to cover in time, so Chad Tracy threw home to get Matt Kemp on a force. And Kemp appeared to roll his ankle, leading to his exit from the game.
Brandon League came back out for the ninth. Anthony Rendon flew out to right. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to third. Jayson Werth? Werth took a two-out walk to keep hope alive... Chad Tracy singled to put two on for Ian Desmond. Desmond fell behind 0-2 quickly, and K'd swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end it. Dodgers sweep Nats.
Nationals now 48-50