Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces Tim Lincecum tonight at Nationals Park.
This series features some great pitching matchups, starting with tonight's showdown between Zimmermann (who actually boasts the best ERA in the Nats' rotation, better than All-Stars Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez) and Tim Lincecum. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is having a baffling season, as evidenced by his 3-8 record and 5.60 ERA. But he is coming off a fantastic outing against the Dodgers -- seven scoreless innings -- so the old Timmy may be back.
I'll have some rehab updates on Drew Storen, Henry Rodriguez, Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady shortly, as well as the latest on Bryce Harper's chances to make the All-Star team. In the meantime, check back here for game updates later on...
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 6:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Partly cloudy, 95 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from CF
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
RF Gregor Blanco
2B Ryan Theriot
LF Melky Cabrera
1B Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
CF Angel Pagan
C Hector Sanchez
SS Brandon Crawford
RHP Tim Lincecum
HP Scott Barry, 1B Jerry Meals, 2B Gary Darling (cc), 3B Paul Emmel
6:37 p.m. -- And we're underway on a 94-degree night in the nation's capital.
6:43 p.m. -- Jordan Zimmermann served up a leadoff single to Gregor Blanco, and then let him steal second base. But the right-hander battled to strand Blanco in scoring position, striking out Ryan Theriot and getting All-Stars Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey to ground out to first to end the inning.
7:07 p.m. -- And Zimmermann pitches out of another jam in the top of the second, getting around Pablo Sandoval's leadoff hustle double -- seriously, the Kung Fu Panda hustled his way to a double -- and keeping this game scoreless heading to the bottom of the second.
7:23 p.m. -- OK, which of this developments constitutes a bigger surprise right now: 1) Danny Espinosa roping an RBI double off the center-field wall while batting left-handed, or 2) A Nats pitcher roping an RBI double? Sadly, I think it's choice No. 1 by a landslide. Whatever the case, the Nats happily took both developments in the bottom of the second, with Espinosa's rocket scoring Ian Desmond and Zimmermann's hit into the right-field corner scoring Espinosa to give the Nats a 2-0 lead.
7:45 p.m. -- Make it 5-0 as the Nats lineup continues to mash Lincecum. Adam LaRoche added an RBI double to deep center in the bottom of the third, and moments later Ian Desmond destroyed a belt-high curveball to deeeeeep left field for his 14th homer of the season. Lincecum just isn't the same pitcher who won those Cy Young Awards and led the Giants to the World Series two years ago. It's kind of sad, actually. Not that the Nats feel any sympathy right now.
8:17 p.m. -- And that's it for Lincecum, who can't even get out of the fourth inning tonight. He wound up allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks and departing with the bases loaded for Morse. Nice spot for reliever George Kontos to have to enter. And Kontos didn't exactly help the cause. He gave up a two-run single to Morse (who continues to rake at the plate) and a sacrifice fly to LaRoche. That makes it 8-0, with all eight runs charged to Lincecum (the most he's ever allowed in the majors).
8:40 p.m. -- It's 8-2 now after five as the Giants take advantage of Ryan Zimmerman's throwing error and the first real blip of trouble by Jordan Zimmermann. Not that there's any real worry considering the large lead the Nats have amassed. More importantly, this game is now official, which could prove important with a storm making its way in from the western suburbs.
8:55 p.m. -- And here comes the rain in the top of the seventh. Fans are scurrying for cover.
8:57 p.m. -- And we're officially in a delay.
9:33 p.m. -- It hasn't been raining for a while now, but there is another line of storms coming. So that's why the tarp hasn't been removed from the infield. Just going to have to wait this out.
9:53 p.m. -- Since there's nothing else to report ... the Mets just beat the Phillies, 9-1. So the Mets will keep pace with the Nats, but the Phillies are now about to be 12 games back in the NL East. Stunning.
10:01 p.m. -- And we will resume at 10:20 p.m. Woo-hoo!
10:22 p.m. -- And we're back after a 1-hour, 25-minute rain delay that featured a total of probably 10 minutes of rain. Ryan Mattheus now pitching in the top of the seventh, the Nats still leading 8-2.
10:27 p.m. -- Mattheus induces a double-play grounder out of Ryan Theriot, so we head to the seventh-inning stretch.
10:47 p.m. -- It's now 8-3 as Mattheus gives up a run in the top of the eighth.
10:59 p.m. -- Make it 9-3 as Bryce Harper ropes his second double of the night, this one scoring Steve Lombardozzi. We go to the ninth.
11:05 p.m. -- Sweet mother of god, Davey Johnson is NOT making a pitching change with two outs in the ninth inning and his team up six runs, with Henry Rodriguez the guy coming in to pitch.
11:09 p.m. -- And that's yer ballgame. Nats win 9-3. See you back here in 11 hours and 56 minutes!