Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann took the mound this afternoon in Viera, Florida's windy Space Coast Stadium with a streak of nine scoreless innings going over his first three Grapefruit League outings, in which he'd allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out nine. Taking on Detroit today in the Nats' spring home, while a split squad team took on the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, the 27-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick allowed the first two hitters to reach base on a single to center by Rajai Davis and HBP on Ian Kinsler that caught the Tigers' new second baseman flush on the back of his left arm.
Zimmermann was up to 12 pitches when he popped DH Victor Martinez up to first for the first out of the game, but a double steal by Davis and Kinsler and RBI groundout to third by Don Kelly ended Zimmermann's streak of scoreless inning at nine. Eighteen pitches total in the first for the Nats' right-hander. 1-0 Tigers after one.
Tigers' outfielder Trevor Crowe worked the count full before taking a called strike three on a 94 mph fastball on the outside edge from Zimmermann that ended a nine-pitch at bat. Bryan Holaday singled on a ground ball to right and stole second with one down, but he was stranded there at the end of a scoreless 15-pitch inning that had Zimmermann up to 33 pitches overall.
Justin Verlander threw a wicked, diving 1-2 change by Bryce Harper for the fourth straight out to start the game. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out sharply to second in the next at bat, and it was more changeups for an overmatched Adam LaRoche, who K'd swinging on the Tigers' veteran right-hander's 22nd pitch. 1-0 Detroit.
• Meanwhile in Kissimee, Florida's Osceola County Stadium:
Six up, six down with two Ks for Gio Gonzalez so far.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) March 16, 2014
Zimmermann's 40th pitch of the game was a changeup outside to Rajai Davis that got the Tigers' outfielder looking for a called strike three. Ian Kinsler lined to Adam LaRoche at first for out no.2, but Victor Martinez took a 2-1 fastball outside to left for a two-out opposite field single that had Zimmermann up to 46 pitches overall. Don Kelly's broken bat blooper to second ended a 15-pitch inning that had the Nats' starter at 48 total after three.
Jose Lobaton worked a leadoff walk out of Justin Verlander to break the Tigers' starter's streak of six straight set down to start the game, but the Nationals' catcher was doubled up on a groundout to short by Jeff Kobernus and when Jordan Zimmermann sacrificed himself on a practice bunt, Detroit's right-handed ace had faced the minimum through three scoreless innings of work.
• Meanwhile in Kissimee, Florida's Osceola County Stadium:
Steven Souza Jr. crushes a solo home run over the left field fence. #Nats lead 1-0 as Goodwin steps to the plate.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2014
Steve Souza Jr. does it again! He crushes another home run to deep left field. #Nats lead 2-0 here in Kissimmee.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2014
Nick Castellanos took a 2-2 slider outside to work the count full, but flew out to Bryce Harper in left to start the fourth. Zimmermann got a weak grounder to short with a 96 mph 1-2 fastball to Trevor Crowe on his 10th pitch of the inning and his 58th pitch of the game. Bryan Holaday was 2 for 2 vs Zimmermann after he took a 1-2 fastball back up the middle for the Tigers' fourth hit, but shortstop Eugenio Suarez took a 91 mph 1-2 fastball outside for a called strike three on Zimmermann's 66th pitch of the afternoon.
Verlander retired the Nationals in order in the fourth to complete four scoreless on 40 pitches.
The Nats' 25-year-old lefty Sammy Solis made his second appearance of the spring in the top of the fifth, returning to the mound after dealing with back spasms which followed his first outing on March 2nd. Solis hit 94 mph with his fastball and retired the Tigers in order in a quick, 14-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth.
• Meanwhile in Kissimmee, Florida's Osceola County Stadium:
Brian Goodwin (2-for-3, 3B, RBI) with his 2nd hit of the day, a RBI-single to score Tyler Moore. #Nats w/ 10 H already, lead the Astros 3-0.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2014
Adam LaRoche hit a two-out single to center for the Nationals' first hit of the game off of Verlander, but Jose Lobaton K'd looking to end the home-half of the fifth.
Sammy Solis went to a full count with Tigers' DH Victor Martinez and missed outside with a fastball on the tenth pitch of the AB. Ryan Zimmerman, at first for the first time, got a grounder hit to him off Don Kelly's bat in the next AB, but as he spun in an attempt to start a double play, Zimmerman lost the ball and settled for the out at first. Solis got a fly to left-center and out no.2 off Nick Castellanos' bat and an 85 mph 0-1 change to Trevor Crowe got a weak groundout to second. Two scoreless on 31 pitches by Solis after a 17-pitch sixth inning.
Meanwhile in Kissimmee, Florida's Osceola County Stadium:
Gio exits the game after 4.2 IP. He leaves two runners aboard as Rafael Soriano takes over. #Nats lead 3-1 over the Astros.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2014
Gio's line: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 68 pitches, 42 strikes.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) March 16, 2014
Jeff Kobernus walked to start the home-half of the sixth, stole second base on new Tigers' pitcher Evan Reed and catcher Bryan Holaday, took third on a groundout to the right side of the infield by Nate McLouth and scored on a wild pitch/passed ball. 1-1 game after six.
Xavier Cedeno retired the three right-handed Tigers he faced in a scoreless seventh, but gave up a single to left by the one lefty he saw, Ezequiel Carrera.
Detroit lefty Phil Coke gave up a two-out double by Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the seventh, but got Will Rhymes looking to end the home-half of the frame.
Former Nationals' utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi reached first on a weakly-hit infield single to short, stole second and third base on Jhonatan Solano and Nats' lefty Mike Gonzalez and scored when Danny Worth lined a one-out single to left to make it 2-1 Tigers after seven and a half.
Tigers' right-hander Bruce Rondon gave up a leadoff single by Jhonatan Solano but nothing else in the bottom of the eighth.
Blake Treinen hit 95 mph with his fastball, threw an 86 mph curve and retired the Tigers in order in a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the ninth. Jose Ortega finished the game with a scoreless bottom of the inning.
Final score, 2-1 Detroit... 4-3 Nats over the Astros in the ninth...