USA Today Sports Photos
Ryan Zimmerman rounds the bases on one of his three homers.
Hitting highlight: It unfortunately was lost amid the late implosion by the Nationals pitching staff (or explosion by the Orioles lineup, depending on how you look at it) but Zimmerman had a night for the ages. Not only did he make two Gold Glove-caliber plays at third base, he was a one-man wrecking crew at the plate. Zimmerman homered to left in the top of the first. He homered to center in the top of the fourth. Then he homered to right in the top of the fifth. Yes, three homers in three at-bats, all by the fifth inning. He had a rare opportunity to take a whack at his fourth bomb of the game, tying the major-league record. Alas, he struck out looking at an outside fastball from Steve Johnson.
Pitching lowlight: You would think six runs of support would have been enough for Zimmermann, who entered having allowed only six earned runs over his previous six starts. But not on this night, not against this lineup and not in this ballpark. The Orioles made solid contact early against him, and though he escaped without major damage, you had to wonder if he could hang on all night like that. He couldn't. Zimmerman served up a homer to Davis in the fourth, a homer to Markakis in the sixth and then crumbled in the seventh: he faced four batters, surrendering hits to all four, including a homer to Steve Pearce. After all that, Zimmermann departed having surrendered seven runs (second-most in his career) without even recording an out in the seventh.
Key stat: The only other players in Nationals history to hit three homers in a game were Alfnso Soriano (2006) and Adam Dunn (2010).
Up next: The four-game, two-city series concludes Thursday night when a couple of veteran right-handers meet. Dan Haren starts for the Nationals against the Orioles' Freddy Garcia, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.