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Nationals 15-1 over the Braves: Ryan Zimmerman keeps swinging, Nats win again

The Washington Nationals scored multiple runs in five of the first six innings and ran away with the series opener with the Atlanta Braves. 15-1 final in the nation's capital. Bryce Harper walked four times. Trea Turner got his first MLB hit.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

5. Zimmermann vs Atlanta: After a stretch of six straight winless outings, over which Jordan Zimmermann put up a 3.68 ERA and a .224/.261/.351 line against in 36 ⅔ innings, the Washington Nationals' 29-year-old right-hander had won three straight going into tonight's matchup against the Atlanta Braves.

In the back-to-back-to-back wins, Zimmermann put up a 4.34 ERA and a .316/.358/.605 line against in 18 ⅔ IP.

"Really good. Fastball velocity was really up the first three innings. Touched 96 [mph]. It was really good. So he's feeling good." -Matt Williams on Jordan Zimmerman vs Marlins last time out

In the third of the three, Zimmermann held the Miami Marlins to a run on seven hits, one a home run, in seven innings of work last week in the nation's capital in what ended up a 5-1 win over the Fish.

"Really good," Matt Willliams said when asked about Zimmermann's outing.

"Fastball velocity was really up the first three innings. Touched 96 [mph]. It was really good. So he's feeling good.

"He got us through seven. He gave up the homer, but at that point he was just going after guys and above 100 pitches, felt good throughout, so good outing from him."

Williams also said he liked Zimmermann's aggressiveness on the mound throughout his seven innings of work and the righty's breaking ball.

"I think he had good feel for his curveball tonight," Williams told reporters, "and he was throwing it where he wanted to, so once again he pitched really well for us."

The three-start win-streak left Zimmermann (11-8) after 27 outings, over which he's put up a 3.45 ERA, a 3.60 FIP, 29 walks (1.56 BB/9) and 131 Ks (7.06 K/9) in 167 IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a .267/.306/.389 line.

Tonight, in the nation's capital, Zimmermann was taking on the Braves for the fifth time this season, after he went (2-0) with a 1.88 ERA and a .255/.287/.282 line against in 28 ⅔ IP in the previous four outings.

His fifth start against the Nationals' NL East rivals began with a scoreless 17-pitch first in which he worked around two walks with the help of a 4-6 DP on an A.J. Pierzynski line drive to second.

A walk and a balk and a wild pitch started the Braves' second and left Nick Swisher on third base with no one out.

Jace Peterson K'd looking for out no.1, however, but Swisher scored on an RBI groundout by Hector Olivera to make it 2-1 Nationals after a 16-pitch frame that left Zimmerman at 33 total.

Given a 7-1 lead to work with, Zimmermann retired the Braves in order in a 15-pitch third that left him at 48 pitches.

With the score 10-1 after three, Zimmermann finally gave up a hit on a one-out single to right by A.J. Pierzynski, but the Braves' catcher was stranded at first two outs later. 11-pitch frame, 59 total after four.

An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left Zimmermann at 67 pitches.

Cameron Maybin hit a one-out single to left in the Braves' sixth and Freddie Freeman took a one-out walk, which was Zimmermann's fourth of the night, tying a season high, but a double play grounder off A.J. Pierzynski's bat ended a 20-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 87 pitches.

• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 87 P, 53 S, 8/0 GO/FO.

4. Wisler while you work: The Washington Nationals faced Atlanta Braves' rookie Matt Wisler in back-to-back starts in late June/early July, knocking the right-handed starter out after four innings in the first, with nine hits and six runs, four earned in what ended up a 7-1 win.

In the second start, the San Diego Padres' 2011 7th Round pick, acquired in the Craig Kimbrel deal this past April, threw 5 ⅓ scoreless, giving up five walks, but just one hit and striking out six in what ended up a 4-1 win.

The win over the Nationals was the first of four straight by the 22-year-old right-hander, who put up a 3.30 ERA, a 4.04 FIP and a .252/.323/.417 line in 30 IP over that stretch.

Coming into tonight's outing, however, he was winless in his last six starts (0-4), with a 7.85 ERA, a 7.11 FIP and a .342/.409/.650 line against in 28 ⅔ innings.

The losing streak left the Braves' starter (5-5) on the year with a 5.22 ERA, a 5.30 FIP, 27 walks (3.44 BB/9) and 45 Ks (5.73 K/9) in 70 ⅔ IP over which opposing hitters have a .293/.362/.523 line against.

Wisler's third start of the year against the Nationals began with two quick outs, but a free pass to Bryce Harper was followed by a double to right by Ryan Zimmerman and a two-run single to left-center by Clint Robinson that put the Nationals up 2-0 early in the series opener. 16-pitch first for the Braves' starter.

Ian Desmond doubled to left to start the Nationals' second and took third on a pitch in the dirt that got away from A.J. Pierzynski. Wilson Ramos hit a double to right in the next at bat to bring Desmond in and make it 3-1 Nats.

Jordan Zimmermann bunted into an out at third trying to move Ramos over, and a single by Jayson Werth and HBP on Anthony Rendon loaded the bases with one out. Bryce Harper stepped in next and walked to force in the fourth run of the game. Ryan Zimmerman hit a sac fly to center to bring Werth in, 5-1. Another walk to Clint Robinson ended Wisler's outing.

Matt Wisler's Line: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 HR, 48 P, 27 S, 2/1 GO/FO.

3. Random Game Notes: Ryan Zimmerman's two home run night against the Cardinals last night was his 14th multi-home run game in his career and the second of the two was his 200th HR in the majors.

• In his last 10 games, Zimmerman is 14 for 39 (.359 AVG) with three doubles, seven home runs, two walks and nine runs scored.

• In today's Jayson Werth-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Jayson Werth is 20 for 67 (.298/.397/.552) with six doubles, a triple and three home runs in 17 games going back to August 15th.

• Going into tonight's game, Nats' slugger Bryce Harper lead the NL in AVG (.331), OBP (.460), SLG (627) and wins above replacement (7.6 fWAR).

• In 41 games since July 20th, Ian Desmond has a .300/.364/.547 line with five doubles, a triple, ten home runs, 15 walks and seven steals.

• Jordan Zimmermann started tonight's game with a streak of 18 ⅔ scoreless innings going against the Braves.

• The Braves started this long-weekend's four-game stretch with eight straight losses, losses in 15 of the last 16 games and 30 of the last 39.

• Atlanta was coming off a 1-8 homestand, dropping two of three to the Colorado Rockies and three each to the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins.

• The Braves' eight-game home losing streak is their longest since 1988.

• The Braves rank fifth in the NL in AVG with RISP this season (.265), but since the All-Star break, they're last in the NL with a .223 AVG with RISP.

2. Turning Point(s): Bryce Harper took his 101st walk of the season with two outs in the home half of the first inning tonight, and took third base when Ryan Zimmerman (who was greeted with quite an ovation by the Nationals Park crowd) doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard in right. Clint Robinson stepped in next and lined a single to left-center, driving both runners in for a 2-0 lead early in the series opener in the nation's capital.

• An oddly wild Jordan Zimmermann issued his third walk of the game to Nick Swisher in the first at bat of the Braves' second, then balked Swisher over to second before a wild pitch allowed him to take third. Hector Olivera hit an RBI groundout to short one out later and the Braves cut the Nats' lead in half, 2-1.

• Ian Desmond doubled to left to start the second, however, then took third on a wild pitch and scored on a double to right by Wilson Ramos. 3-1 Nationals. A bases-loaded walk by Bryce Harper and sac fly to center field off of Ryan Zimmerman's bat gave the Nats a 5-1 lead after two.

1. The Wrap-Up: Sugar Ray Marimon took over for the Braves with the bases loaded and two out in the second and gave up a two-run single to left by Yunel Escobar, 7-1 Nationals.

A one-out single by Anthony Rendon with Jayson Werth on first after grounding into a force at second, ended Marimon's outing.

Andrew McKirahan came on to face Bryce Harper, lefty vs lefty. Harper took his third walk of the game, loading them up for Ryan Zimmerman, who worked the count full and lined a two-run single to right. 9-1 Nationals. Clint Robinson hit an RBI single to left to make it 10-1 after three.

Ryan Kelly tossed a scoreless fourth for Atlanta. Ross Detwiler came on in the fifth and issued the fourth walk of the night to Bryce Harper, who scored on an RBI double to left by Ryan Zimmerman. 11-1.

Wilson Ramos drove Ryan Zimmerman in with a sac fly to right that made it 12-1 before Detwiler got out of the fifth.

Tyler Moore doubled, Anthony Rendon walked and Danny Espinosa singled to left to load the bases with one out against Danny Burawa in the sixth, and Moore scored on a sac fly by Clint Robinson.

Yunel Escobar drove in a run with an RBI single to left, 14-1.

Sammy Solis struck out the side in a quick-ish, 17-pitch seventh inning.

Peter Moylan gave up Trea Turner's first MLB hit with one out in the Nationals' seventh.

Solis retired the side in order in the eighth, adding another strikeout in a 10-pitch frame.

Matt Marksberry gave up a solo home run by Danny Espinosa in the eighth, 15-1.

Rafael Martin came on to end it in the ninth and issued a leadoff walk to Cameron Maybin and a two-out walk to Nick Swisher before he mercifully finished the Braves off. 15-1 final.

Nationals now 68-65