New York Mets' second baseman Wilmer Flores tripled with one down in the second inning this afternoon in Citi Field, but two outs later he was stranded on third base.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada singled to start the third, and took second on a sac bunt before Eric Young, Jr. was hit by a pitch from Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann, who retired the next two batters he faced to complete a scoreless third that left the Mets 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Flores and Mets' outfielder Curtis Granderson and a walk by catcher Anthony Recker loaded the bases with one down in the bottom of the fourth, but Ruben Tejada lined out to short and starter Jon Niese popped out in foul territory off third to end another threat.
A one-out double by Juan Lagares in the fifth and a two-out HBP on Lucas Duda put two runners on again, but a fly to left by Wilmer Flores ended the inning.
Zimmermann gave up a one-out double by Recker in the sixth, but stranded him at the end of a 13-pitch frame that left the Nats' right-hander at 91 pitches.
Two outs and 12 pitches into the seventh, after Wilson Ramos' two-run home run to right in the top of the inning gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead, Zimmermann was lifted in favor of left-hander Matt Thornton, who retired Daniel Murphy to end the bottom of the inning.
The line on Jordan Zimmermann today: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K -- 103 pitches, 74 strikes. pic.twitter.com/9qvlrcd294— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 14, 2014
Zimmermann's Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 103 P, 74 S, 4/5 GO/FO.
"[Zimmermann] pitched out of some jams today," Nationals' skipper Matt Williams said after the Nats' 3-0 win in New York. "It's a question of just making pitches when you need to. Pitched around a couple of guys when he needed to and got the matchups he wanted and got out of the innings. So, that's just the sign of a veteran pitcher who knows what he's doing out there. He pitched well."
"Few innings I had my hands full and I was able to make the pitch when I needed to," Zimmermann said after he improved to (6-0) in his last 11 starts, over which he's put up a 2.51 ERA (20 ER in 65 ⅔ IP).
"Got that pop-up to left to Bryce [Harper] shallow enough where he could throw it home and the guy didn't score. And then I had bases loaded with [Jon] Niese and he gave me a little bit of a battle but I was able to get him pop out so I made the pitch when I had to and got out of those jams."
With the win today, the Nationals improved to 9-0 in the 28-year-old, '07 2nd Round pick's last nine starts.
The right-hander was asked if there was anything working particularly well that's led to his run over the last month-plus?
"Just got a good stretch going," Zimmermann said. "There's nothing that really sticks out. Just try to put up zeros and keep the game close and these guys are going to score runs. Try to keep it close and [Ramos] hits a two-run homer. That's just the way we are and we're going to battle to the end."
"That's the difference in the game," Williams said of the 10th HR of the year by the Nats' catcher. "We were able to get one in the last, but [Ramos] just got a fastball out over that he could handle and hit it over the right-center field fence. He's got that ability at any time. So that's a big hit for us."
"It's tough to hit the ball the other way with power," the rookie manager continued, "but that is his power, middle of the diamond, the other way, so he got a pitch to handle."
The Nationals improved to 13-3 against the Mets this season with the win and 9-1 in Citi Field after the final game of the year in New York. Up next, a three-game set with Atlanta during which the Nationals have a chance to clinch the division.
"It will be a lot better when the magic number is zero," Zimmermann said. "But we're in good shape going down to Atlanta and still take it one game at a time, and hopefully we can celebrate down there."
• We talked about Jordan Zimmermann's outing, the home run by Wilson Ramos and the Nats' season in Citi Field on the latest edition of Nats Nightly: