5. Zimmermann in Wisconsinn: In three career starts in his home state of Wisconsin before tonight, Auburndale-born, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point-educated right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was (2-0) with a 1.50 ERA, seven walks (3.50 BB/9) and 20 Ks (10.00 K/9) in18 innings pitched over which he'd held Milwaukee Brewers' hitters to a combined .231/.315/.338 line.
Zimmermann took the mound tonight in Miller Park coming of a loss in a five-inning outing against the Chicago Cubs last week in the nation's capital in which the 29-year-old right-hander gave up 10 hits, two walks and four runs in a 6-3 game.
"Just wasn't locating," Zimmermann said after the outing, "leaving the ball over the middle. My breaking pitches were terrible. That's going to happen when you don't have all your pitches and I just wasn't sharp today."
"The fastball, the speed was good," he told reporters. "I just wasn't locating and I'd get two strikes and make a stupid pitch or something over the middle and they were getting a lot of 0-2 hits today."
That outing left the Nationals' '07 2nd Round pick (5-3) with a 3.18 ERA, a 3.11 FIP, 17 walks (2.08 BB/9) and 48 Ks (5.86 K/9) in 12 starts and 73 ⅔ IP this season, over which he'd held opposing hitters to a combined .273/.320/.343 line.
On the road this season, before tonight, Zimmermann had a 4.13 ERA in 39 ⅓ IP this season, (vs a 2.58 ERA in 45 ⅓ at home), a 3.32 FIP (vs 2.97) and a .313/.358/.393 line against (vs .249/.296/.310).
Back in America's Dairyland, Zimmermann issued a four-pitch, one-out walk to Gerardo Parra in the Brewers' half of the first, but Ryan Braun grounded into a force at second for out no.2. Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon weren't on the same page and a slight hesitation before Desmond tossed to the bag cost them a double play. Adam Lind lined a two-out double to right-center in the next at bat that moved Braun around to third, and both runners scored when Aramis Ramirez worked the count full and doubled to left-center on a 95 mph belt-hit heater. 2-0 Brewers. 26-pitch first.
Scooter Gennett sent a 95 mph 1-2 heater screaming into the right-center gap for a one-out double in the bottom of the second and took third on a groundout to first, but he was stranded there when Jonathan Lucroy chased a 2-2 slider out of the zone for a swinging K and out no.3 of a 24-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 50 pitches.
Gerardo Parra and Ryan Braun hit back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the Brewers' third, with Zimmermann up to 61 pitches and no one out, but the Nats' starter picked Parra off second with Adam Lind at the plate. Lind K'd on a 1-2 curve for out no.2, but a two-out double to center by Ramirez (who improved to 10 for 24 with six doubles vs Zimmermann in their respective careers) brought Braun around to make it 3-1 Brewers. 26-pitch frame. 76 total.
Jean Segura took the first pitch of the fourth to center for a leadoff single and took third when Scooter Gennett lined a single to right in the next at. Bryce Harper made an ill-advised and high throw toward home on the hit, so Gennett took an extra base to put two runners in scoring position with no one out and Zimmermann up to 86 pitches. Mike Fiers went down swinging at a slider for out no.1, but Jonathan Lucroy lined a two-run single to left to make it 5-2 Brewers.
That was it for Zimmermann.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 88 P, 57 S, 5/0 GO/FO.
4. A-Fiers-d? I got nothing: In spite of the fact that he'd allowed two runs or less in each of his last six outings before tonight's, 29-year-old Brewers' right-hander Mike Fiers was just (1-2) with Milwaukee 2-4 in those starts, over which he posted a 2.78 ERA and a .280/.331/.417 line against in 32 ⅓ IP.
Fiers took the hill in the second game of four with the Nationals in Miller Park with a (2-6) record, a 4.06 ERA, a 3.46 FIP, 22 walks (3.19 BB/9), 72 Ks (10.45 K/9) and a .289/.354/.470 line against in 12 starts and 62 IP so far in 2015.
The Hollywood, Florida-born, five-year veteran was facing Washington for the fourth time, starting for just the second time, having gone (1-1) with a 1.59 ERA, four walks and 13 Ks in 11 ⅓ IP in the previous three outings, in which he held Nats' hitters to a combined .220/.289/.293 line.
At home, however, Fiers was (0-4) in six starts, with a 5.83 ERA and a .317/.380/.540 line against in 29 ⅓ IP, with a (2-2) record, 2.48 ERA and .268/.326/.402 line against in starts outside of Wisconsin.
His seventh start of the year in the Brewers' home began with a leadoff walk to Denard Span, but Anthony Rendon grounded into a 6-4-3 and Yunel Escobar lined out to center to end a quick, 10-pitch first.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with after one, Fiers gave up a solo home run to right-center by Bryce Harper on a high 91 mph 1-2 heater in the first at bat of the second. No.21 for Harper. 2-1 Brewers.
The next three Nats went down in order, however. 15-pitch frame, 25 total after two.
An 11-pitch, 2 K, 1-2-3 3rd left Fiers at 36 pitches.
Anthony Rendon walked to start the fourth, took second on a groundout and scored on an RBI line drive to center by Bryce Harper. 3-2 Brewers. 15-pitch frame, 51 total.
Given a 7-2 lead to work with, Fiers retired the Nationals in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth that left him at 63 pitches.
Anthony Rendon hit a ground-rule double to left-center with one out in the top of the sixth and took third on a single by Yunel Escobar. Bryce Harper stepped in with two on and one out and worked the count full before striking out on a slow 71 mph curve. Wilson Ramos drew a base-loading two-out walk, but Danny Espinosa lined out to left to leave them loaded. 21-pitch frame, 84 total.
Tyler Moore hit a two-out solo blast to left and into the second deck to make it 8-3 Brewers in the seventh. 16-pitch frame by Fiers, 100 total after seven.
WATCH: Tyler Moore's fourth home run was quite the blast: http://t.co/42TUTex4vJ— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 13, 2015
• Mike Fiers' Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 2 HRs, 100 P, 61 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
3. Road Harp: Bryce Harper has been plenty impressive in the nation's capital so far in 2015, with a .348/.477/.798 line, four doubles, 12 HRs, 22 walks and 23 Ks in 29 games and 111 plate appearances in Nationals Park, but he's hit outside of D.C. too, with a .312/.453/.633 line, nine doubles, eight home runs, 28 walks and 27 Ks away from Washington through 31 games and 139 PAs this season.
As the Nationals mentioned in their pregame notes on tonight's matchups, he'd also managed to reach base in 30 of 31 road games so far in his fourth major league campaign after he went 1 for 3 with a walk in the series opener in Miller Park last night.
Heading into the second game of four in Milwaukee this evening, Harper had just four hits and one home run in seven games and 32 PAs in the Brewers' home.
He had two home runs in Wisconsin after his first at bat, and 21 on the season after he took a high 1-2 heater from Mike Fiers to right-center for a towering blast that cut a 2-0 Brewers' lead in half.
The second time up, Harper hit an RBI line drive to right for a single that brought Anthony Rendon in from second to make it 3-2 Brewers.
Harper walked and scored on a Wilson Ramos double in the eighth to end his night 2 for 3 with a walk, home run and two runs scored.
2. Turning Point(s): Jordan Zimmermann could have escaped the first without damage. After walking Gerardo Parra with one out, the Nats' right-hander got a grounder to short out of Ryan Braun, but Ian Desmond, who appeared to at least think of going to the bag himself, hesitated for a moment before tossing to Anthony Rendon, and the slight delay allowed Braun to reach first safely, avoiding the double play. Adam Lind singled in the next at bat and both runners scored when Aramis Ramirez lined a two-out, two-run double to center to make it 2-0 Milwaukee early in Miller Park.
• Bryce Harper homered to right-center off Mike Fiers in the Nationals' second, but Ramirez struck back with an RBI double in the third. Harper answered with a run scoring single and it was 3-2 Brewers after three and a half.
• Harper made an ill-advised throw in the fourth, however. With Jean Segura at second after a single and a stolen base, Scooter Gennett lined to right. Harper came up throwing, but sailed it, allowing Gennett to take second as Segura stopped at third, and both runners then scored when Jonathan Lucroy singled to left in the next at bat, 5-2 Milwaukee. 7-2 after four.
1. The Wrap-Up: Nats' right-hander Taylor Hill took over for Jordan Zimmermann with one down in the fourth and the score 5-2 Brewers. Gerardo Parra and Adam Lind singled to load the bases with two down, and Aramis Ramirez's third double of the game made it 7-2 Milwaukee after four.
Aramis Ramirez has tied the franchise record for doubles in a game (3), now done 37 times.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 13, 2015
Hill retired the Brewers in order in a nine-pitch fifth, that left him at 29 pitches overall.
Blake Treinen came on in the bottom of the sixth. Gerardo Parra's third hit of the night was a ground-rule double to right-center with one down. Ryan Braun lined a single to center, putting runners on the corners. Adam Lind brought Parra in with a single to right. Aramis Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending DP in the next AB.
Shane Peterson doubled to left-center off Matt Thornton in the first at bat of the Brewers' seventh, but he was stranded there.
Corey Knebel took over for the Brewers in the eighth and walked Bryce Harper with two out. Wilson Ramos lined an RBI double to left-center in the next at bat to bring Harper around, 8-4 Brewers.
David Carpenter made his Nationals debut in the bottom of the eighth with a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Jonathan Broxton came on to end it in the ninth, and retired the Nats in order. 8-4 final.
Nationals now 31-30