It was a hot and sweltering night in the Nation’s capital. But that wasn’t it. So was the bat of All Star finalist Ryan Zimmerman.
The Nationals got a strong starting pitching effort by Livan Hernandez, but the bullpen failed to hold the lead. Livo pitched 7 innings and allowed 9 hits, 4 runs and 4 strikeouts, two of the runs given up by the bullpen. Livo did not record a decision.
Ryan Zimmerman, named a voting finalist for the NL All Star team, stated his case very loudly, going 3 for 4, homering twice, driving in 2 runs, and one of those home runs was the walk off game winner in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was a picture perfect night for Zimmerman, as he hit home runs number 15 and 16 and pumped his batting average up to .293. Last night was Zim’s second consecutive game with 3 hits. He is 6 for 9 with 2 runs, 3 home runs, and 6 RBI during the last two games. SS Ian Desmond added a home run, his fifth of the season. However, Desmond also committed a very costly error that would have gotten the nationals out of the 3 run, 8th inning that tied the game and cost Livo a decision. Mike Morse, platooning in right field with Roger Bernadina, continues to state a heavy case for playing time, going 3 for 4, driving in two runs and raising his batting average to .317.
Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett each failed to hold the Nats 5-2 lead. Clippard allowed two consecutive hits that scored runs and exited with the score a sudden one run game at 5-4. Clippard’s run allowed was not earned because of Desmond’s fielding error. Burnett blew his 1 save of the season, allowing a hit and the tying run to score. All Star Matt Capps (3-3) allowed 2 hits in the ninth, but closed it down and earned his second straight win. Capps is 3-3 with 22 saves and a 3.11 ERA on the season.
Game two of the three game series is tonight at 7:05. JD Martin will take the mound for the Nationals, Jon Garland for the Padres.