Ryan Zimmerman hit one out to center field in his first at bat that Philadelphia Phillies’ center fielder Odubel Herrera picked off the top of the wall, but in his second at bat of the night, the Washington Nationals’ first baseman sent one far enough to left that no one had a chance of bringing it back.
Zimmerman’s 13th of 2017 put Washington up 2-1 in the fourth of the second of three with the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, and he drove in a run with a double to right field in the sixth in the at bat before Anthony Rendon’s three-run blast blew it wide open in what ended up a 6-2 win for the Nats, who improved to 21-9 on the year.
A.J. Cole struggled with his command and was giving up hard contact all night in his first start in the majors this season, but with some help from his defense, he limited the Phillies to one run on six hits over six innings, earning his first win of the season, (W, 1-0), and the second of his career.
Nationals now 21-9
Here’s how it happened:
• Odubel Herrera pulled a long fly ball off the top of the fence in center, taking what looked like a potential home run for Ryan Zimmerman away in the first at bat of the Nats’ second.
• A.J. Cole was having trouble throwing strikes early, and he issued a two-out walk to Freddy Galvis in the Phillies’ second.
Galvis stole second base and scored on an RBI single by Cameron Rupp, 1-0. 50 pitches, 25 strikes after two.
• Rafael Bautista took a 1-1 slider from Vince Velasquez back up the middle for his first MLB hit in the top of the third. He moved up to second on a balk, but was stranded.
• Daniel Murphy went down for a 1-2 bender low in the zone and golfed it out to right for a one-out double in the fourth, and Ryan Zimmerman followed with a two-run shot to left field on an 0-1 change that ended up deep in the outfield seats. 2-1 Nationals, Zimmerman’s 13th.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice ... pic.twitter.com/muaxyHYAIG— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 7, 2017
• Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy hit back-to-back, one-out singles in the sixth, and Ryan Zimmerman lined a 95 mph 2-1 fastball to right where Michael Saunders lost it in the lights and had it soar over his head for an RBI double. 3-1 Nationals.
• Anthony Rendon followed with a three-run blast to left on a 1-1 fastball, 6-1 Nats. Rendon’s 5th of 2017.
Get you two men who can do both. pic.twitter.com/O1JS56HPZO— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 7, 2017
• A.J. Cole’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 Ks 109 P, 58 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
• Oliver Perez took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning and gave up a one-out home run to right by Cameron Rupp, who hit a 2-2 fastball out the other way for a solo shot that made it 6-2 Nationals.
• Vince Velasquez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 2 HRs, 100 P, 71 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
• Perez threw 25 pitches in the seventh inning and came back out for the eighth and hit Odubel Herrera before he was lifted in favor of Jacob Turner, who got a 5-4-3 DP out of Maikel Franco and struck out Tommy Joseph.
• Turner came back out for the ninth inning and finished the Phillies off with a 1-2-3 frame.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- In today’s updated “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” update: Washington is 107-121 all-time vs Philadelphia, but the Nationals are 68-50 against the Phillies... since 2011, and the Nats went 14-5 against their divisional rivals last season, 8-1 in Citizens Bank Park.
- Washington’s 20-9 record after last night’s win was the best in the majors heading into play today, and the best in franchise history after 29 games.
- The Nationals’ offense began the day leading all major league teams in runs (183), run differential (+50), hits (299), doubles (65), AVG (.290), OBP (.366), and SLG (.495).
- Coming into tonight’s game, the Phillies had lost four straight, falling under .500 for the third time this season.
- In today’s Phillies-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Phillies’ third baseman Maikel Franco was 17-55 (.309 AVG) with a .381 OBP and a .509 SLG... over his last 14 games before tonight, reaching base safely in 11 of those 14.
- Ryan Zimmerman took a 12-game hit streak into tonight’s game, and he started the night leading the majors in AVG (.433), SLG (.885), RBIs (31), hits (45), multi-hit games (15) and extra base hits (23). He extended the streak to 13-straight with a two-run HR in the fourth.
- Trea Turner took a 14-game on-base streak into tonight’s game, over which he’d put up a .350 AVG (21 for 60) with a .409 OBP and .600 SLG.
- Before tonight, the Phillies had won five of their last six in Citizens Bank and seven of 12 games at CBP this season.
Nationals now 21-9