Monday, June 09, 2014
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Zimmermann two-hitter leads Nationals to shutout win over Padres

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[June 09, 2014]  SAN DIEGO -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann said the idea of pitching the first no-hitter in the 10-season history of the Washington Nationals never crossed his mind Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.

For one, Zimmermann said he felt "terrible" during his pregame warmup in the bullpen.

And then there were the numbers.

"Career numbers show I give up around a hit an inning," said Zimmermann (5-2). "I figured they would get a hit some time."

But Zimmermann had three things going for him Sunday -- a potent fastball, an early lead that enabled him to alter his approach and an inoffensive Padres offense.

So Zimmermann retired the first 16 Padres he faced en route to a two-hit shutout and shortstop Ian Desmond hit his second two-run homer in as many games as Washington shut out the Padres 6-0.

Zimmermann was working on a perfect game with one out in the sixth when Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista pulled a soft line drive over the head of first baseman Adam LaRoche for the Padres' first hit.
 


Padres left fielder Seth Smith got a lead-off triple in the seventh on a drive to right that was misplayed by right fielder Jayson Werth. But Zimmermann retired the next three Padres without Smith scoring to preserve the shutout.

Zimmermann didn't issue a walk and set a career high with 12 strikeouts while pitching the third, complete-game shutout of his career. He threw 114 pitches with 83 going for strikes. In addition to the 12 strikeouts, Zimmermann got eight outs on ground balls, two on infield flies and five on flies to the outfield.

"He was good," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Zimmermann. "We got some runs early (six in the first three innings against struggling Padres left-hander Eric Stults) and let him settle in. He used his fastball to get ahead in the count then expanded the plate.

"He was in command all day."

"We just didn't see the ball," Padres manager Bud Black said of Zimmermann's performance. "He pumped some fastballs early. We couldn't solve him. We didn't pick it up off him."

"I was throwing strikes," said Zimmermann. "When we got those early runs, it changed my mentality. I had a good fastball and this is a big ballpark. I let the defense go to work. I'll take groundouts over strikeouts. We had a good game plan, the one Tanner (Roark) used Friday night. Go up and go up and in."

Roark shut out the Padres on three hits and no walks over eight innings against a Padres team that hit .135 (25-for-185) and scored only 11 runs during a 2-4 homestand. The two shutouts against the Nationals raised the Padres' total to 10 this season. The Padres had only 16 base runners in three games against the Nationals with 11 coming in Saturday night's 4-3, 11-inning win.

The win was Washington's seventh in the last nine games.

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Offensively, the Nationals made quick work of Stults, who was on bereavement leave earlier this week to attend his grandmother's funeral.

Washington scored one in the first, two in the second and three in the third as Stults gave up six runs on eight hits in 2 1/2 innings -- which is the shortest outing of his career. Stults (2-7) has lost four straight decisions and his earned-run average has climbed to 5.68.

Nationals center fielder Denard Span opened the game with a double, stole third and scored on third baseman Kevin Frandsen's grounder to short.

Desmond's two-run homer in the second, a 398-foot drive that barely cleared the glove of leaping Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin at the wall, made it 3-0.

The big hits in the three-run third were a run-scoring single by first baseman Adam LaRoche and a two-run single by second baseman Danny Espinosa.

Espinosa and Werth both had three hits for the Nationals. Desmond and third baseman Kevin Frandsen each had two hits in the Nationals' 13-hit attack.

NOTES: 3B Anthony Rendon is expected to be back in the Nationals lineup Monday in San Francisco after missing the last two starts in San Diego with a bruised hand. ... Padres RHP Andrew Cashner "felt fine" the day after his first start since May 13 and is expected to start Thursday in Philadelphia unless the Padres elect to give him an extra day off. ... Padres manager Bud Black said San Diego will need a fifth starter by next Saturday and it could be Cuban RHP Odrisamer Despaigne.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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