5. Zimmermann vs Milwaukee: Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann snapped a streak of six winless outings last time he took the mound, in Denver, Colorado's Coors Field, earning a win over the Rockies in spite of the fact that he gave up nine hits, three home runs, and six runs total, four earned, in six innings.
The start left the 29-year-old Nats' right-hander (1-3) in his seven second-half outings, over which he's put up a 4.01 ERA, a 4.06 FIP, seven walks (1.48 BB/9) and 39 Ks (8.23 K/9) in 42 ⅔ innings pitched, holding opposing hitters to a combined .238/.281/.416 line.
Williams chalked the results in Colorado up to the park Zimmermann was pitching in when he spoke to reporters after what ended up a 15-6 win.
"It's a different ballpark," the second-year skipper said. "So you know that runs are going to happen. The only pitch that he was upset about was the curveball [to Kyle Parker] for the [third] homer. He was upset about that one, but it was good that we came back in the top of that inning and went ahead."
After the third home run he allowed, the Nationals scored one in the top of the seventh and added eight more over the next two innings as they eventually ran away with the game and picked Zimmermann up.
"It was a struggle," Zimmermann told reporters after helping snap his own winless streak and the Nationals' six-game losing streak.
"I made a lot of 0-2 mistakes and three home runs obviously isn't what I wanted to do. I just tried to keep it close. I did my best and happy we got the win.''
Zimmermann was back in the nation's capital this afternoon, facing a Milwaukee Brewers team that knocked him out after just 3 ⅓ (9 H, 6 ER) when he faced them in Miller Park back in mid-June.
His second start of the season against his home-state team began with the Auburndale, Wisconsin-born righty giving up a single to center field by Scooter Gennett on an 0-2 curve up in the zone and a two-run home run to left-center by Brewers' backstop Jonathan Lucroy on a hanging 2-1 slider, 2-0 Milwaukee. 19-pitch first.
Jean Segura buzzed Zimmermann's tower with a line drive to center field with one down in the Brewers' second, but was stranded at first two outs later. Another 19-pitch frame, 38 total.
Ryan Braun K'd swinging to end a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 third that left Zimmermann at 54 pitches.
Given a 5-2 lead to work with, Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single to center by Adam Lind in the top of the fourth.
A throwing error on a two-out, Jean Segura grounder back to the mound put runners on the corners, so the Nationals walked Elian Herrera to get to Matt Garza, who went down swinging to end a 23-pitch frame. 77 total.
Scooter Gennett worked the count full in the first at bat of the fifth, and hit a solo home run over the wall in right to get the Brewers within two, 5-3. Zimmermann set the next three down in order in a 17-pitch frame that pushed him up to 94 pitches.
With the score 9-3, Zimmermann hit Domingo Santana with one down, and gave up a two-out, RBI double by Elian Herrera that made it 9-4. That was it for Zimmermann.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 116 P, 79 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
4. Garza vs Nationals: Veteran Milwaukee righty Matt Garza gave up seven hits and five runs (just one of them earned) in six innings of work in a 6-5 Brewers' win when the Washington Nationals visited Miller Park in June.
Garza received no decision that night, leaving him winless in seven starts against the Nationals in his ten-year MLB career, over which the 31-year-old starter was (0-3) with a 6.27 ERA, 12 walks (3.27 BB/9), 38 Ks (10.36 K/9) and a .305/.359/.454 line against in 33 IP before taking the mound in the series finale of the Brewers' three-game set in the nation's capital today.
On the year, Garza was (6-13) heading into this afternoon's outing, with a 4.98 ERA, a 4.82 FIP, 46 walks (3.05 BB/9) and 93 Ks (6.17 K/9) in 135 ⅔ innings pitched, over which opposing hitters had a combined .279/.337/.454 line.
He was coming off a loss to Miami in which he gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings of what ended up a 6-2 game in Milwaukee.
"I think a bunch of the hits came first pitch, so they were aggressive and they took advantage of some mistakes early in the count and did some damage on those pitches," he explained.
"So it wasn't Matt's best night. He's had five really nice starts since the All-Star Break. Five out of six pretty good ones, so we'll take that and move forward."
The eighth start of Garza's career against the Nationals began with a leadoff double to left by Jayson Werth, who took third on a groundout to the right side by Anthony Rendon and scored one out later on a two-out RBI double to center field by Ryan Zimmerman. 2-1 Brewers. 19-pitch first.
Wilson Ramos lined an opposite field single to right with one down in the Nats' second, but was doubled up on a grounder to third by Michael Taylor. 5-4-3. 13-pitch second, 32 total.
Anthony Rendon took a two-out walk in front of Bryce Harper in the bottom of the third, and took third base when Harper beat the Brewers' shift with a double to left field.
Garza pitched around Ryan Zimmerman to get to Ian Desmond, who hit a chopper off the plate that popped up high over the infield. Garza rushed, but bobbled it and couldn't make the play. 2-2. Danny Espinosa stepped in next and cleared the bases with a double off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right. 5-2 Nats. 37-pitch frame. 69 total.
Anthony Rendon took another two-out walk in the bottom of the fourth and Bryce Harper doubled again, to left again, and Ryan Zimmerman walked again... [ed. note - "I'm scared."]. Ian Desmond? Fly to center. 18-pitch frame for Garza, who was up to 87 pitches.
Wilson Ramos got all of a 1-0 fastball in the Nationals' half of the fifth and sent a solo home run out to right-center field to make it a 6-3 game. HR no.10 for Ramos. Michael Taylor walked in the next at bat and took second on a groundout, at which point the Brewers went to the bullpen...
• Matt Garza's Line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 6 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 55 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Note: The Nationals and Brewers decide the current series and season series this afternoon after splitting the first two of three in D.C. and the first six games they've played thus far.
• Matt Garza took the mound this afternoon in the nation's capital (37-48) in 12 starts on the road in his career, over which he's put up a 4.50 ERA (vs 3.46 in home starts in his various home ballparks).
• With last night's loss, the Brewers' advantage in the all-time series with the Nationals is down to two games, 64-62.
• Milwaukee is 12-15 in Nationals Park since it opened in 2008 and 15-22 against the Nats since 2005.
• Heading into today's game, Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper has reached base in 105 of the 115 games he's played in this season.
• In today's "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, we once again update Ian Desmond's second-half surge: Since July 20th, the Nationals' shortstop is 34 for 113 (.301/.368/.566) with four doubles, a triple, eight home runs, 12 walks and six stolen bases.
• Jordan Zimmermann took the mound today (4-1) in six career starts against the Brewers, with a 3.71 ERA in 34 IP.
• In his last five starts in his adopted home, the Auburndale, Wiscosin-born right-hander has a 1.93 ERA in 32 ⅔ IP.
2. Turning Point(s): Jordan Zimmermann left an 0-2 curve up in the zone for Brewers' leadoff man Scooter Gennett, who lined a single to center, then left a 2-1 slider up for Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy who hit a two-run home run into the Red Porch seats in Nationals Park to put the visiting team up 2-0 before an out was recorded in today's series finale in the nation's capital.
• The Nationals cut the Brewers' lead in half in the bottom of the first, however, with Jayson Werth doubling and scoring two outs later on two-base hit to center by Ryan Zimmerman, 2-1.
• Anthony Rendon took a two-out walk from Matt Garza in the Nationals' third, and Bryce Harper went with an 0-2 fastball outside, sending a ground ball through the open left side to beat the Brewers' shift. Garza pitched around Ryan Zimmermann to get to Ian Desmond, who hit a chopper off the plate that the Milwaukee righty misplayed, 2-2, and Danny Espinosa followed with a three-run double off the out-of-town scoreboard to put the Nats up, 5-2 after three in D.C.
1. The Wrap-Up: Corey Knebel took over for the Brewers with two on and two out in the fifth and walked the first batter he faced, Jayson Werth. Anthony Rendon followed with a three-run blast on a 2-2 fastball. 9-3 Nationals.
With a runner on second and the score 9-4, Felipe Rivero took over for Jordan Zimmermann with two down in the top of the sixth and got out no.3.
Tyler Thornburg set the Nationals down in order in an 11-pitch bottom of the sixth.
Casey Janssen threw a scoreless 13-pitch seventh. Thornburg came back out with a 1-2-3 bottom of the frame.
Drew Storen took over in the eighth and gave up a line drive home run to left on the first pitch to Khris Davis before he struck out the side. 9-5 Nationals.
Jeremy Jeffress worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Jonathan Papelbon came out for some work in the ninth and retired the Brewers in order. Ballgame.
Nationals now 62-61