Ryan Zimmerman connected for two of the Washington Nationals’ three hits off Atlanta Braves’ starter R.A. Dickey through six innings tonight, with the second Zimmerman’s fifth home run of the year and his second in two days.
Zimmerman started the night 9 for 31 (.290/.314/.419) with a double and a home run in 35 plate appearances against the veteran knuckleballer in their respective careers.
He connected for his second home run off Dickey after Bryce Harper worked a two-out walk to keep the Nationals’ half of the sixth inning alive.
Stephen Strasburg held the Braves to two runs on six hits through seven, and the right-hander, who’d won 5 of his last 6 starts vs the Nats’ NL East rivals, (and had won his last three in Atlanta with an 0.49 ERA over those outings) made it four straight against the Braves, earning his second win of the season (W, 2-0; 2.89 ERA).
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks, 103 P, 76 S, 6/0 GO/FO.
Oliver Perez, Koda Glover (8th) and Shawn Kelley (9th) combined to finish the Braves off.
The win gave the Nationals a sweep of their first series in SunTrust Park. 3-2 final.
Nationals now 10-5
Here’s how it happened:
• Ryan Zimmerman continued to hit the ball the other way with conviction in his first at bat of the series finale, lining an 0-1 knuckler from R.A. Dickey to right-center for a leadoff double in the second and moving up on a flyout by Matt Wieters before scoring on a sac fly to left-center off Michael A. Taylor’s bat, 1-0.
• Back-to-back singles by Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips and a walk to Jace Peterson loaded the bases with no one out in the Braves’ half of the second.
Strasburg limited the damage, however, striking out Kurt Suzuki before R.A. Dickey hit a dribbler to short to bring in a run, 1-1.
That’s all the Braves got though, as Bryce Harper made a shoestring catch in right to rob Ender Inciarte of an RBI hit.
• Brandon Phillips doubled on a first-pitch fastball with one out in the Braves’ fourth, took third on a botched grounder by Grant Green at second, which allowed Jace Peterson to reach base, and scored on a sac fly by Kurt Suzuki, 2-1.
• Bryce Harper walked with two out in the sixth, slowing Dickey’s roll momentarily, and Ryan Zimmerman stepped in next and hit a two-out, two-out home run to left-center to put the Nationals on top, 3-2. Zimmerman’s 5th of 2017.
• R.A. Dickey’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 73 P, 53 S, 12/3 GO/FO.
• Michael A. Taylor, with a diving (all or nothing) catch on a low liner by Brandon Phillips with a runner on, Adam Eaton with an awkward backhand catch in the gap with one on in the seventh, and Anthony Rendon with a diving play and strong throw one out later in the seventh, all helped Strasburg’s cause with some great defense behind the right-hander. Oh, and there was Bryce Harper’s shoestring catch early in the game too. Solid defense.
• Oliver Perez took over on the mound in the eight, with a one-run lead, and popped Freddie Freeman up on his second pitch. That was it for Ollie, in his first appearance since April 8th.
• Koda Glover took over and retired the two batters he faced on six pitches.
• Shawn Kelley came on for the save opportunity in the ninth and (with a little drama), worked around a two-out single and walk to earn the save. Ballgame.
Nationals win, 3-2 final.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- After the last two wins, the Nationals trail the Braves 118-105 in the all-time series between the two teams (2005-present).
- In today’s “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment, however, the Nationals hold a 38-13 advantage over the Braves since June 21, 2014, and they went 14-5 against Atlanta in 2015.
- Washington also won six of nine games in Atlanta last season, and they’re now 2-0 in SunTrust Park.
- The Nationals have now won 17 of their last 21 matchups with the Braves.
- Bryce Harper takes the field tonight with a streak of having reached base in eight-straight plate appearances.
- Adam Eaton has now reached base safely in all 13 games he’s started for the Nationals this season.
- In a bonus “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Stephen Strasburg took the mound tonight (5-1) in his last seven starts against the Braves, going back to September 15, 2014, with a 2.29 ERA in 39 1⁄3 IP over that stretch.
- R.A. Dickey started the night (4-7) with a 3.68 ERA in 16 starts and 88 IP against the Nationals in his career, though tonight’s start was his first against Washington since 2015.
Nationals now 10-5