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Nationals 5-4 over Diamondbacks on Adam LaRoche's walk-off HR in the 11th

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The Washington Nationals rallied to take a 4-3 lead after eight, but tonight's closer, Tyler Clippard, gave up a solo home run in the top of the ninth, so it went to extras before Adam LaRoche won it with a walk-off blast!! Another walk-off win!

Patrick Smith

Jordan Zimmermann Appreciation Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' right-hander walked just one batter in 31 ⅔ innings pitched in the so-called "second half" before taking the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the series opener in D.C. tonight.

The Nats' 28-year-old starter issued two free passes in the first five innings in Nationals Park, and the second one cost him a run when Mark Trumbo walked to start the fifth, moved around to third on a single and a sac bunt and scored on a sac fly by D-Backs' third baseman Jake Lamb. 1-0 Arizona after five.

D-Backs' starter Vidal Nuno completed six scoreless on 70 pitches, but his second walk of the night cost him too.

The 27-year-old Arizona lefty put Ian Desmond on with one down in the bottom of the seventh inning and one out later Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos hit a two-out, two-run home run out to center, 402ft+ for a 2-1 lead.

Ramos' 6th HR of 2014 gave the Nationals a one-run advantage.

A half-inning after the Nationals took the lead, Jordan Zimmermann issued his third walk of the game and a two-run home run by Didi Gregorious followed as the D-Backs went up 3-2.

Gregorius' 5th HR of the year ended Zimmermann's night.

The Diamondbacks went to the pen for Brad Ziegler in the bottom of the eighth and he gave up the lead. Denard Span lined a double to left with one down and came around on an RBI triple to right by Anthony Rendon. Rendon then scored on Jayson Werth's sac fly to left and the Nationals took a 4-3 lead into the ninth.

It didn't last long.

Three pitches into the inning, Tyler Clippard gave up a solo home run to right by D-Backs' right fielder David Peralta, who bounced an 0-2 splitter off the facade of the second deck in right field. 4-4 game.

It was tied at 4-4 until Adam LaRoche came up with two down in the eleventh and crushed a 3-1 curve from D-Backs' right-hander Will Harris! Another walk-off winner. 5-4 Nationals final.

4. Zimmermann's Turn: In five second-half outings, 28-year-old Washington Nationals' righty Jordan Zimmermann, who suffered a bicep strain in his final first-half start, was (2-0) with a 2.56 ERA, a 2.31 FIP, one walk (0.28 BB/9) and 29 Ks (8.24 K/9) in 31 ⅔ IP before taking the mound tonight, in which opposing hitters have put up a .236/.252/.364 line against him.

After starting the month of August with seven scoreless against the Philadelphia Phillies, Zimmermann made back-to-back 6 ⅓-inning starts against the New York Mets in which gave up 12 hits and four runs, three earned in 5-3 and 3-2 wins over the Nats' NL East rivals.

"He was just flying open a little bit tonight and the ball flattens out on him and he gets up in the strike zone." - Matt Williams on Zimmermann's issues in Arizona in May 2014

Zimmermann only received a decision in the second of the two starts against the Mets, improving to (8-5) on the year with a 2.92 ERA, a 2.66 FIP, 21 walks (1.31 BB/9) and 130 Ks (8.09 K/9) in 24 starts and 144 ⅔ IP.

After starting on the road in Citi Field last time out, Zimmermann was back in the nation's capital tonight, where he was (4-3) through 11 starts this season with a 2.76 ERA, a 2.45 FIP, 13 walks (1.56 BB/9) and 61 Ks (7.32 K/9) in 75 IP over which opposing hitters put up a .277/.314/.349 line against him.

Zimmermann was facing the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of this week's four-game set. He was roughed up a bit by the D-Backs when he faced them in Chase Field in May, giving up 10 hits and five runs in 5 ⅔ IP in what ended up a 6-5 Nats' win.

That outing left him (2-2) in five career starts against Arizona, in which he put up a 3.62 ERA with six walks (1.67 BB/9) and 22 Ks (6.12 K/9) in 32 ⅓ IP in which the Diamondbacks' hitters put up a combined .258/.298/.403 line against him.

Zimmermann's second start of the year vs the D-Backs began with...a walk? Really?

1st: Ender Inciarte walked to start the top of the first. Aaron Hill popped to second for the first out of the frame. David Peralta grounded to first in the next at bat, starting a 3-6-3 inning-ending DP. Nine-pitch frame.

2nd: Mark Trumbo started the second with a pop to second where Asdrubal Cabrera caught the first out of the frame. Miguel Montero K'd swinging through a 96 mph 1-2 fastball. Jordan Pacheco stepped in with the bases empty and two out and lined to Bryce Harper in left. 12-pitch frame, 21 total after two.

3rd: Jake Lamb grounded weakly to second to start the third. Didi Gregorius hit one off the hands that dropped into short center for a single no one could reach. Vidal Nuno bunted to third to start a 5-6-4 inning-ender. Five-pitch frame for Zimmermann, 26 total after three.

4th: Ender Enciarte lined out to left to start the fourth. Aaron Hill grounded out to third on a 95 mph 2-2 fastball for out no.2. David Peralta's line drive toward right ended up in Adam LaRoche's first baseman's glove. 13-pitch frame for Zimmermann, 39 total after four.

5th: Mark Trumbo took the second walk of the game from Zimmermann in the first at bat of the fifth and moved up on a single to right by Miguel Montero. Jordan Pacheco bunted both runners over/gave up an out. Jake Lamb stepped in with runners on second and third with one out and sent a fly to deep center to bring Trumbo in. 1-0. Didi Gregorius grounded out to short to end a 21-pitch frame that pushed Zimmermann up to 60 pitches.

6th: Vidal Nuno K'd swinging to start the sixth. Ender Inciarte lined out to center. Aaron Hill's groundout to short ended an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. 71 total after six.

7th: David Peralta popped out to first to start the seventh. Mark Trumbo popped out to foul territory off first. Miguel Montero singled through the right side with two down, but Jordan Pacheco lined out to center to end an 11-pitch frame for Zimmermann, who was up to 82 total after seven.

8th: Given a 2-1 lead to work with, Jordan Zimmermann issued a leadoff walk to Jake Lamb in the first at bat of the eighth. Didi Gregorious battled for eight pitches in the next at bat and launched the eighth, a 95 mph fastball, sending a two-run home run into the right field bullpen. Gregorius' 5th made it 3-2 D-Backs and ended Zimmermann's night.

Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 61 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

3. Nuno vs the Nationals: Vidal Nuno, 27, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 48th Round of the 2009 Draft but released two years later.

The 5'11'', 195 lb lefty signed with the New York Yankees in 2011 and made five appearances, three of them starts in 2013 and 17 appearances, 14 of them starts in 2014 with New York before he was traded to Arizona in the first week of July in return for right-hander Brandon McCarthy.

In seven starts for the D-Backs before tonight's, in the series opener with the Nationals, Nuno was (0-3) with Arizona 0-7 in his outings, putting up a 3.92 ERA with eight walks (1.85 BB/9) and 31 Ks (7.15 K/9) in 39 IP in which he held opposing hitters to a .237/.280/.408 line.

On the road away from Yankee Stadium and Chase Field this season, Nuno was (1-3) in 10 appearances, eight of them starts, over which he posted a 4.17 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, 11 walks (2.18 BB/9), 36 Ks (7.15 K/9) and a .256/.303/.383 line against  in 45 ⅓ IP.

Nuno walked Denard Span in the first at bat of the Nationals' first, then picked him off on a questionable move when Span broke for second. The D-Backs' lefty retired the next two batters in order for a scoreless 15-pitch frame.

Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper went down in a quick, six-pitch, 1-2-3 second for Nuno, who was up to 21 pitches total after two.

Asdrubal Cabrera lined to center with one down in the home-half of the third, but he was forced out at second on a bunt attempt by Jordan Zimmermann and Cabrera took a shin to the face from D-Backs' shortstop Didi Gregorius on the play. Cabrera stayed in the game. Nuno got a groundout from Denard Span in the next at bat, ending a nine-pitch frame. 30 total after three.

Jayson Werth singled to center with one down in the Nationals' fourth, but he was stranded two outs later as Nuno completed his fourth scoreless frame after 13 pitches at 43 overall.

Given a 1-0 lead to work with, Nuno gave up a leadoff single to right by Bryce Harper in the first at bat of the fifth, but Harper deked like he was going to try to take second and D-Backs' right fielder David Peralta and shortstop Didi Gregorius called his bluff and faked him into a TOOTBLAN. Wilson Ramos singled to center in the next at bat, but the Nats' catcher was stranded at second when Jordan Zimmermann K'd swinging to end a 15-pitch frame that left Nuno at 58 total after five scoreless.

Denard Span, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth went down in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth that left Nuno at 70 pitches overall.

Ian Desmond walked with one down in the Nationals' seventh, but one out later he was still standing at first... when WILSON RAMOS WENT YARD!!! Ramos got hold of a 1-2 slider from Nuno and sent a 2-run home run out to center field in Nationals Park. 402ft+. 2-1 Nats on Ramos' 6th. Nuno held it there and completed the seventh on 17 pitches, leaving him at 87 overall on the night.

Vidal Nuno's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 87 P, 59 S, 6/2 GO/FO.

2. Seven-straight?: The Washington Nationals' series-sweeping 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates last night in Nats Park gave them six straight wins overall, a new season high.

The last time time they won seven straight?

Last September, when the surging Nationals, who eventually fell short of a return to the postseason, swept the Miami Marlins in a three-game set, the New York Mets in a four-game series and the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of a three-game matchup before dropping the second game with the Phillies in D.C.

Could they make it seven in-a-row tonight with a win in the series opener with Arizona after taking two of three in Chase Field back in May? You bet. Seven-straight.

1. The Wrap-Up: Matt Thornton took over for Zimmermann in the eighth and retired three-straight D-Backs.

Denard Span doubled to left-center with one down in the Nationals' eighth, taking an 0-1 sinker from Brad Ziegler for a ride and Anthony Rendon followed with an RBI triple to right that tied things up at 3-3 and put the go-ahead run on third with one out. Jayson Werth's sac liner to right brought Rendon in and made it 4-3 Nationals.

Tyler Clippard came out to close it and gave up a solo home run to right by David Peralta, who crushed it. Solo home run off the facade of the second deck. 4-4 game in the nation's capital. Miguel Montero singled with one down, but Clippard completed a 13-pitch frame with the score still 4-4.

Oilver Perez retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the ninth to send it to extras.

Drew Storen gave up a two-out double to left-center by Ender Inciarte. Aaron Hill walked to put two on with two out as Inciarte stole third. David Peralta stepped in with the go-ahead run at third and grounded out to second to end the frame.

D-Backs' right-hander Matt Stites retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the tenth.

Mark Trumbo singled on a grounder back to the mound that bounced off Craig Stammen. Miguel Montero walked on four pitches. Jordan Pacheco lined a single to right to load the bases with no outs. Jake Lamb fell behind 0-2 and K'd swinging at a 1-2 slider. Didi Gregorious fell behind 0-2 and chased another diving slider. Pinch hitter Cliff Pennington's groundout to second ended the threat.

Will Harris took the mound for the D-Backs in the bottom of the eleventh, retired the first two batters... and then gave up a bomb of a walk-off blast by Adam LaRoche!! Do. You. Believe?

Nationals now 70-53