|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
The Nats also have Bryce Harper back in their lineup tonight after he missed yesterday's game with flu-like symptoms. They won't have Wilson Ramos, though, after the catcher re-injured his hamstring running down the first-base line in the fourth inning. Stay tuned for an update on his status.
Jordan Zimmermann gets the start tonight, hoping to get himself back on track after a rough month or so. Tim Lincecum, who threw a no-hitter a few weeks ago but has struggled since, is on the mound for the Giants.
Updates to come...
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 183
Weather: Clear, 74 degrees, Wind 11 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Anthony Rendon
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
2B Marco Scutaro
SS Brandon Crawford
1B Brandon Belt
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Roger Kieschnick
CF Gregor Blanco
RHP Tim Lincecum
HP Mike Estabrook
1B Jim Joyce (cc)
2B Jeff Nelson
3B Jim Wolf
7:06 p.m. — We are underway on a gorgeous and — dare I say it? — chilly August evening in the District. Jordan Zimmermann starts of Marco Scutaro with a fastball for strike one.
7:09 p.m. — And Zimmermann retires the side on nine pitches. That's not a bad way to get a ballgame started.
7:20 p.m. — Your nightly "RISP Counter" update: 0-for-2. The Nats wasted Ryan Zimmerman's one-out double off the right field wall in the bottom of the first, with Bryce Harper grounding out and Jayson Werth flying out. So it's scoreless after one.
7:34 p.m. — Uh-oh, the stolen base comes back to haunt the Nationals yet again. Zimmermann walked Hunter Pence with one out in the top of the second, then let him steal second base. That put Pence in position to score on Roger Kieschnick's two-out single up the middle. If you've lost track, the Nats have now caught only 12 of 88 basestealers this season, a 13.6 percent rate that is far and away the worst in the majors. No other club has thrown out fewer than 20 percent this year. Nats down 1-0 in the middle of the second.
7:44 p.m. — Ian Desmond owns Tim Lincecum. No, he REALLY owns Lincecum. Desmond just crushed a leadoff homer to left to open the bottom of the second, making him 10-for-12 with two homers in his career against the former Cy Young Award winner. That's pretty impressive. So was his homer, which cleared the left-field bullpen by at least 10 rows and was hit into the wind. Desmond now matches Werth, LaRoche and Harper for the club lead with 17 homers. And the Nats tie this game, 1-1.
7:52 p.m. — Ugh, bad decision by Harper to call off Desmond on a pop-up that was maybe 25 feet beyond the infield dirt. Desmond was camped under it, but Harper couldn't make the play, so Brandon Crawford got a gift double. No worries, though, because Zimmermann pitched around it, thanks in part to some stellar defense by Zimmerman and Rendon on sharp grounders. Still 1-1 in the middle of the third.
8:15 p.m. — Man, what happened to the efficient version of Jordan Zimmermann? He's already at 82 pitches through only four innings tonight. Incredibly, he has only allowed one run so far. But he has been pitching out of the stretch all night and not getting outs. Best-case scenario, Zimmermann probably can't go more than six innings tonight. Still 1-1, middle of the fourth.
8:36 p.m. — Whoa, break up the Nats! OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But they did just put up a 5-spot in the bottom of the fourth, sending 10 men to the plate. Rendon launched a two-run double to deep center. Suzuki blooped an RBI single to left. Span battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk, with Rendon scoring on the wild pitch ball four. Zimmerman beat out a grounder to third to score another run. It's 6-1 Nats as we move to the fifth.
8:56 p.m. — Props to Zimmermann for getting some quick outs now. He has made it through the sixth on 103 total pitches. He's due up third in the bottom of the inning, but there's no action in the Nats pen yet. So perhaps he'll get one more. Still 6-1 Nats.
9:07 p.m. — Zimmermann did get one more inning and he made the most of it, retiring the side again. That's three shutdown innings after he was handed a 5-run lead. That's how you're supposed to do it. Jordan's final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 112 pitches, 74 strikes. Still 6-1 at the stretch.
9:37 p.m. — Man oh man, Ryan Mattheus struggles yet again. He entered after Ian Krol served up a towering homer to Brandon Belt, then gave up three straight hits. That forced Davey Johnson to summon Tyler Clippard, something I'm quite certain Davey didn't want to have to do when the eighth inning began and the Nats held a 5-run lead. Clippard, as always, came up huge, striking out Kieschnick and Blanco to put out the fire. His value to the Nats bullpen right now is off the charts. It's now 6-4 as Rafael Soriano warms for the ninth.
9:45 p.m. — OK, here we go. Soriano in search of his 31st save, trying to protect a 2-run lead.
9:58 p.m. — Sweet Fancy Moses! Denard Span saves the day with a diving catch of Hunter Pence's drive to deep left-center. Soriano had already given up a run and put the tying run on second base. The Nats win their fifth straight, 6-5. They'll go for their second straight sweep (not to mention a .500 record) tomorrow afternoon. Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, becomes the NL's first 14-game winner.