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Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann's sixth inning scare, seventh straight win

In his last ten starts, Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is (7-0) with the Nats 10-0 after he earned the "W" in last night's 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins. Zimmermann took a line drive off his shoulder, but it could have been a lot worse.

Eliot J. Schechter

Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann gave up three singles and a run in the first inning of Saturday night's game in Miami and the Nationals threw the ball around the field in the fourth, leading to an unearned run scoring.

Marlins' outfielder Reed Johnson doubled to deep center field in Marlins Park, took third when both Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond and first baseman Adam LaRoche missed Denard Span's throw in and scored when Zimmermann, who recovered the ball, made an ill-advised throw in an attempt to cut Johnson down.

Zimmermann bounced the throw to third and it went out into foul territory in left, allowing Johnson to score on what's commonly, and cruelly, referred to as a "Little League" home run.

The two runs were the only ones Zimmermann allowed in six innings of work on the mound in Miami, over which he gave up just five hits, but the most important thing, when his outing was over, was that the 28-year-old right-hander managed to escape near-disaster.

"It was scary, but I think he'll come out of it fine. He may be sore for a few days though." -Matt Williams on Jordan Zimmermann being hit by a line drive

In the first at bat of the sixth inning, Zimmermann threw a 92 mph 0-2 fastball to Marlins' third baseman Casey McGehee, who hit a line drive right back at the pitcher and off his right shoulder.

Zimmermann fell down, flat on his back on the mound, but sat up quickly as the ball bounced to second, allowing Nats' second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to throw McGehee out.

Pitching coach Steve McCatty and the Nats' infielders surrounded him on the mound, but Zimmermann assured them he was fine, threw a few pitches to prove it and then finished the inning.

The Nationals scored three runs and took the lead in the top of the seventh, and Zimmermann was the pitcher of record when they did, so he earned his seventh win in his last ten starts, over which he's (7-0) with the Nats 10-0.

In 65 ⅔ innings pitched over that stretch, which goes back to a July 28th outing against the Marlins, Zimmermann has put up a 2.06 ERA with seven walks (0.96 BB/9) and 59 Ks (8.09 K/9).

Nats' skipper Matt Williams, like everyone else who watched the play, was just happy it turned out like it did, with the right-hander avoiding any serious injury.

"It got him in the shoulder," Williams told reporters. "That's tough. He's pitching well, certainly can go longer, but not tonight, not with something like that. And we're not going to take any chances there. So I would assume he'll be pretty sore tomorrow. He's got a pretty good welt on his shoulder, but he was able to finish the inning and shut it down from there."

Everyone got a pretty good scare.

"It was scary," the first-year manager admitted, "but I think he'll come out of it fine. He may be sore for a few days though."

Williams said he didn't anticipate there being any long-term issues.

"It can affect how he feels, yeah. I don't anticipate it affecting as far as injury goes, but if it's sore yeah, so we'll have to evaluate over the next few days and see where we're at. But it got him pretty good."