Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann tries to lead the Nats to a second straight win over the Reds.
So Steve Lombardozzi stays at third base, and Danny Espinosa (who homered and doubled on his birthday) stays at second base. That leaves Rendon on the bench for the second straight night, not an ideal scenario for the top prospect.
Jordan Zimmermann gets the start, hoping to take a cue from Gio Gonzalez last night and attack this potent Cincinnati lineup, record some quick outs and pitch deep into the night. He'll be opposed by fellow right-hander Homer Bailey, who shut out the Nationals over six innings three weeks ago.
Updates to come...
CINCINNATI REDS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from LF
CF Denard Span
3B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
CF Shin-Soo Choo
SS Cesar Izturis
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
3B Todd Frazier
LF Xavier Paul
C Corky Miller
RHP Homer Bailey
HP Andy Fletcher
1B Rob Drake
2B Sam Holbrook (cc)
3B Paul Nauert
7:05 p.m. — We are underway. Gorgeous Friday night for baseball in the District as Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound.
7:08 p.m. — That was quick. Zimmermann needed a whopping seven pitches to retire the side in the top of the first. A big assist (literally) goes to Danny Espinosa, who made a nifty, barehand grab of Shin-Soo Choo's chopper that deflected off Zimmermann's glove. That right there is why Espinosa remains in the lineup even when he's slumping at the plate.
7:14 p.m. — And now Homer Bailey retires the side on nine pitches, recording three groundball outs. Quite an efficient first inning for both right-handers.
7:20 p.m. — Zimmermann continues the trend with a 1-2-3 top of the second. He is dealing right now, retiring all six batters faced on only 18 pitches. He blew away Jay Bruce with a 94 mph high fastball for his first strikeout of the evening. Scoreless as we move to the bottom of the second.
7:29 p.m. — Adam LaRoche stepped to the plate to a new tune ("Pour Some Sugar on Me") but that didn't help him snap out of his funk. LaRoche is now 0 for his last 16 after popping out to short. Danny Espinosa, meanwhile, had a couple of long, loopy swing-and-misses against Bailey fastballs to end the second inning, stranding Ian Desmond (who doubled) on second base.
7:46 p.m. — The Nats just don't seem to have an answer for Bailey. He's struck out four straight batters and is through three scoreless innings, meaning the Nats have yet to score against him in nine innings this season. Still 0-0 after three pitching-dominant innings here.
7:53 p.m. — Jordan Zimmermann = filthy tonight. He struck out Joey Votto on a 96 mph fastball on the inside corner. He's through four scoreless on 41 pitches (28 strikes). Just dealing tonight. Now, if his teammates could only score a run off Bailey...
8:02 p.m. — When it doubt, count on Bryce Harper to deliver. Despite falling behind in the count 0-2 after one of those silly fake-bunt attempts, he battled back to a full count and then roped Bailey's 3-2 pitch into the right-field corner for a triple. That's his 14th extra-base hit in 21-plus games this season, a fairly impressive rate. With one out in a scoreless game in the fourth inning, Dusty Baker surprisingly brought his infield in against Jayson Werth. At which point Werth poked an RBI single past the drawn-in Brandon Phillips at second base, scoring Harper. So the Nats have taken a 1-0 lead. Not as impressive, Adam LaRoche struck out again, this time on an 0-2 fastball at his eyelids. He's now 0 for his last 17 and is pressing big-time.
8:15 p.m. — Make it five scoreless innings for Zimmermann on only 50 pitches. Just cruising along so far tonight. Bailey has been nearly as dominant, his only mistake really the Harper triple. The Nats still lead 1-0 as we move to the sixth already.
8:21 p.m. — Zimmermann maintains that ridiculous, 10-pitch-an-inning pace. He's at 60 through six scoreless. Dominant and efficient, that's a tough combination to beat. Still 1-0 in the middle of the sixth.
8:33 p.m. — A great chance for the Nats to add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, with Span on third and one out. But Harper tapped a nubber to the mound and Bailey flipped home to get Span, who collided pretty hard with Corky Miller. Denard appears to be OK, but making matters worse, Harper got picked off first base. Squandered opportunity there for the Nats.
8:39 p.m. — Ouch, Zimmermann takes a comebacker off his left hand. Of course, this is a guy who once pitched in college with a broken jaw, so you wouldn't expect that to knock him out. And he didn't. He merely finished off a 6-pitch inning, leaving him at 66 through seven scoreless. FYI: Nats pitching has now surrendered two hits to the Reds in 16 innings this series. Still 1-0 at the stretch.
8:50 p.m. — Jordan Zimmermann, ladies and gentlemen. Just when it looks like he's gotten into trouble (he issued his first walk of the night with two outs in the eighth) he reaches back and strikes out Jack Hannahan on an 86 mph slider to end the eighth. He's still allowed only one hit, and he's through eight on 86 pitches. Still 1-0 Nats.
9:09 p.m. — We go to the ninth, and there is no movement in the bullpen. This is Zimmermann's game to finish.
9:13 p.m. — That's it. Zimmermann does it: a complete-game, 1-hit shutout. Nats win 1-0 behind a brilliant pitching performance against a tough lineup.