Regular Season Finale Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: HEADLINE: Jordan Zimmermann throws a no-hitter vs Marlins in final regular season start.
Ian Desmond's 24th home run of the 2014 campaign ended up in the left field bullpen in Nationals Park.
Washington's 29-year-old shortstop crushed a 90 mph 1-2 fastball from Miami Marlins' right-hander Henderson Alvarez with one down in the second, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead early in the regular season finale in the nation's capital.
Jordan Zimmermann retired 18 of 19 Marlins' hitters through six scoreless and hitless innings in his final start of the 2014 campaign, allowing just one walk. A runner reached in the seventh when Garrett Jones K'd swinging on an 0-2 curve in the dirt that got away from Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos, but Ramos picked Jones off first in the next at bat to end Zimmermann's seventh scoreless and hitless frame.
A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth left Zimmermann at 93 pitches after eight scoreless and hitless.
Zimmermann came back out for the ninth to a standing ovation and retired the Marlins in order for the no-hitter with Steven Souza diving to catch a line drive to left-center gap off Christian Yelich's bat.
No-Hitter!!! First by a Nationals starter since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005.
4. Zimmermann vs the Fish: Heading into the regular season finale with the Miami Marlins in the nation's capital, the Washington Nationals were 10-0 in right-hander Jordan Zimmermann's last 10 starts with the 28-year-old (7-0) over that stretch in which he's put up a 2.06 ERA, seven walks (0.96 BB/9) and 59 Ks (8.09 K/9) in 65 ⅔ IP while holding opposing hitters to a .228/.257/.321 line.
The last time the Nats lost a Zimmermann start was on July 28th in Miami when Rafael Soriano blew a save and the Fish rallied in the ninth for a 7-6 win.
Back in Marlins Park in his last outing before taking the mound in Game 162 of 162 for the Nationals, Zimmermann held the Marlins to five hits and two runs, one earned in Miami last week in a 3-2 win in which he earned his 13th curly-W of the season.
Unfortunately, the game ended with a bit of scare when Zimmermann took a line drive off Casey McGehee's bat on his right shoulder in his final inning of work.
"It got him in the shoulder," Matt Williams said after the game. "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."
The outing in Miami, and his win in the start left Zimmermann (2-0) in five starts against the Marlins in 2014, with a 4.39 ERA, five walks (1.69 BB/9) and 21 Ks (7.09 K/9) in 26 ⅔ IP over which Fish hitters put up a .288/.318/.423 line against him.
This afternoon he was back in the nation's capital, starting the final regular season game for the Nationals.
In Nats Park before today, he was (6-2) in 16 starts with a 2.81 ERA, a 2.75 FIP and a .265/.302/.357 line against in 96 IP.
Zimmermann's 17th start of the season in D.C. began with a line drive to right field that Bryce Harper handled...
1st: Christian Yelich lined out to right after battling for ten pitches in the first at bat of today's game. Donovan Solano grounded out to Ian Desmond's backhand at short for out no.2. Casey McGehee K'd swinging at an 0-2 slider to end a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
2nd: Garrett Jones popped to third for out no.1. Reed Johnson popped out to Adam LaRoche in foul territory off first. Justin Bour fell behind 0-2 quickly and went down swinging at a high 95 mph fastball inside. 10-pitch frame, 27 total after two.
3rd: J.T. Realmuto took a 2-2 slider inside for a called strike three. Adeiny Hechavarria went down swinging at a 95 mph 2-2 fastball outside. Henderson Alvarez's groundout to second ended a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 third after which Zimmermann was up to 38 pitches.
4th: Christian Yelich popped out to third. Donovan Solano went down swinging at an 0-2 curve. Casey McGehee's fly to right ended a six-pitch inning. 12 up, 12 down. 44 pitches.
5th: Garrett Jones lined out to first. Reed Johnson lined out to third. Justin Bour took a low 3-2 fastball for a two-out walk that ended Zimmermann's bid for a perfect game. J.T. Realmuto's line drive to short ended a 14-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 58 pitches.
6th: Adeiny Hechavarria went down swinging at a high 94 mph 0-2 heater. Henderson Alvarez grounded out to Jeff Kobernus at second. Christian Yelich grounded back to Zimmermann, who made his way to first to end a 10-pitch frame. 68 pitches overall.
7th: Donovan Solano went down swinging at an 0-2 curve in the dirt. Casey McGehee fell behind 0-2 and K'd swinging at a 1-2 fastball knee-high outside. K no.8. Garrett Jones stepped in with two down and chased an 0-2 bender out of the zone for K no.9, but it got away from Wilson Ramos, so Jones reached first safely, but he was picked off on a snap throw from Wilson Ramos in the next at bat. 12-pitch frame. 80 total.
8th: Reed Johnson sent a fly ball to Ryan Zimmerman in left for out no.1. Justin Bour popped out to Kevin Frandsen in foul territory off third. J.T. Realmuto fell behind 0-2 quickly and went down on a check-swing strike three. 10 Ks. 13-pitch frame. 93 total after eight.
THAT'S EIGHT! Jordan Zimmermann is through eight strong innings on 93 pitches at #Nats Park on this final Sunday of the regular season!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 28, 2014
9th: Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out to short. ONE! Pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia got to a 2-2 count and sent a fly to center for out no.2. TWO!! Christian Yelich spit on a 1-1 curve to get ahead 2-1 and sent a fly to left-center where Steven Souza made a ridiculous diving catch to end the no-hitter!!!!
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 104 P, 79 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
3. Alvarez vs the Nats: In ten second half outings before he took the mound in Nationals Park today in the regular season finale with the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins' starter Henderson Alvarez was (6-2) with the Fish 7-3 when he started.
In 60 innings pitches over that stretch, the 24-year-old right-hander acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in the blockbuster 11-player trade that took place in November of 2012, put up a 2.85 ERA, a 3.96 FIP and a .251/.298/.383 line against.
Alvarez missed two starts in August with inflammation in his right shoulder, but returned to the mound for an August 16th start.
"'He looks great, so whatever he had is gone and he's ready to go,'" manager Mike Redmond told MLB.com's Erik Bacharach then. "'And a perfect time. We need him. We were all hoping that this was a short-time deal, and it looks like it is, so that's big for us.'"
In seven starts since returning from the DL stint, the four-year major league veteran is (4-1) with the Marlins 5-2 when he's toed the rubber.
In 42 ⅓ IP since he returned, Alvarez has put up 3.40 ERA and a .277/.313/.404 line against.
This afternoon in the 162nd game of the season, the right-hander was facing the Nationals for the third time in 2014 after going (1-1) with a 0.51 ERA, six walks and 10 Ks in 17 ⅔ IP against the Marlins' NL East rivals from D.C. over which he held Nats' hitters to a combined .219/.296/.250 line.
Alvarez's fourth start against Washington in 2014 began with a quick, 13-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the first.
The Nationals got on the board in the second, however, with Ian Desmond flat crushing a 90 mph 1-2 fastball from the Marlins' starter and sending a one-out solo home run into the visitor's bullpen in left.
1-0 Nats on Desmond's 24th.
Bryce Harper followed with a double on a grounder to center, but he was stranded at second two outs later. 19-pitch frame for Alvarez, 32 total after two.
Denard Span doubled with one down in the Nats' third and set a new Nationals' single season record in the process with his 184th hit of the year. After double no.39, Span was replaced on the basepaths by pinch runner Nate Schierholtz.
The crowd in the nation's capital gave Span a standing ovation as he left the field with a .302 AVG on the year.
.@thisisdspan will finish the 2014 regular season batting .302 w 184 hits, 39 doubles, 8 triples, 5 HR, 31 SB, 94 RS & 50 BB. Amazing year.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 28, 2014
Alvarez retired the next two, however, to finish a 10-pitch inning at 42 pitches overall.
Adam LaRoche was lifted for a pinch runner after singling to start the Nats' fourth. Tyler Moore, who took over at first, took third on a Bryce Harper single to right one out later. With runners on first and third, Wilson Ramos grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3. Six-pitch frame for Alvarez, 48 total after four.
Jordan Zimmermann and Nate Schierholtz singled with one down in the Nats' fifth, but Kevin Frandsen grounded into another inning-ending 5-4-3. Seven-pitch frame, 55 total for Alvarez after five.
Tyler Moore singled to center with one down in the Nationals' sixth. Scott Hairston lined a single toward right that hit first base ump Gary Cederstrom. Moore took third, but was stranded there when Wilson Ramos popped out to end the sixth. 16-pitch frame, 71 for Alvarez after six.
Jordan Zimmermann singled with one down in the Nats' seventh, but he was stranded on the basepaths when Kevin Frandsen singled with two down but was thrown out trying to take second. 16-pitch frame for Alvarez, 87 total.
• Henderson Alvarez's Line: 7.0 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 87 P, 61 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
2. Final Numbers: The Washington Nationals entered the regular season finale 95-66 on the year, a win away from ending up 30 games over .500 with a 17-game lead in the NL East. With the division and home field advantage through the NLCS, if they make it that far, wrapped up, they took on the Miami Marlins one more time this afternoon with a 12-6 record through 18 games with their divisional rivals. In Nats Park, they were 5-3 against the Fish after wrapping up the road-half of their season series with a 7-3 record in Marlins Park.
In the nation's capital, they were 50-30 before today's game and 51-30 after it, finishing the season 96-66 after the win.
• 1. The Wrap-Up: NO-[EXPLETIVE DELETED]-HITTER!!!
Steven Souza Jr. with an UNBELIEVABLE diving catch in left field ends it! A NO-HITTER FOR JORDAN ZIMMERMANN!!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 28, 2014
Nationals finish regular season 96-66