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Ian Desmond rounds the bases after his fourth-inning homer.
Hitting highlight: Desmond had never hit cleanup before in the big leagues, but he certainly looked comfortable in the role tonight. Pressed into services with Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman injured, the shortstop stepped to the plate in the top of the fourth moments after Harper drew a walk and then crushed a 1-1 curveball from Paul Maholm over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer. Desmond by no means fits the classic mold of a cleanup hitter. But given the options available to Davey Johnson at the moment, he's the Nationals' best choice. Fortunately for them, he delivered in a big spot tonight.
Pitching highlight: What more can you say about Zimmermann? He has been absolutely dominant, for an extended stretch now. He entered this start with a streak of 10 consecutive scoreless innings, and the streak remains intact after this gem. The right-hander again was efficient, pitching to contact most of the time but making the Braves swing and miss when he needed to. He allowed a first-inning single to Justin Upton, a second-inning double to Maholm and then nothing else the rest of the way. That means he's now surrendered only three total hits over his last 18 innings, firmly establishing himself not only as the best pitcher in the Nationals rotation right now, but among the very best pitchers in baseball at the moment.
Key stat: Steve Lombardozzi is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
Up next: The four-game series concludes Thursday night with Dan Haren looking to build off his last, strong start. Kris Medlen gets the start for the Braves at 7:10 p.m.