It was a game the Nationals could have won. A four-run first inning made the team’s offensive efforts look solid. But a short outing from starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann helped this game fall into the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals lineup in a 10-9 loss.
Zimmermann lasted a total of three and one-third inning and gave up eight earned runs – the most of his career. His 93-pitch start also saw two hit batters and two homeruns from the Cardinals offense before he was replaced by reliever Craig Stammen in the fourth. Manager Davey Johnson indicated after the game that he’s not worried about Zimmermann’s shoulder or arm in general. He attributed this loss to being one of those games where it just gets away from the pitcher. According to Johnson, Zimmermann’s just as strong as ever.
Stammen went on to pitch two and one-thirds innings allowing just one hit and no runs for the mean time, but this was after the damage was already done. The afternoon slugfest between Washington and St. Louis raked in 24 total hits from each side. The game was tied several times but the Cardinals would come busting through yet again each time the Nats gained any traction.
Bryce Harper started the first-inning offensive rally with a one-out single off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse to left-field that he stretched into a double with his speed. Harper went on to score off an Adam LaRoche single. Michael Morse continued with a single as well, which set up another scoring situation for the Nats. Ian Desmond was able to reach base on a field error by Matt Holliday in left field which allowed LaRoche and Desmond to score. That made it a 4-0 game for Jordan Zimmermann, who has not seen as much run support from his team than the rest of the staff.
As it’s been indicated, though, the Nats didn’t stick it out and the Cardinals offense finally broke free for the first time all series. St. Louis scored eight runs in the second, third, and fourth innings combined to keep themselves in the game.
It wasn’t until the ninth inning with the game tied yet again that smart base running won it for the Cardinals. Leadoff batter Allen Craig singled off Drew Storen and went on to score the winning run after stealing second during a David Freese at-bat. Craig went on to score after Freese hit one-out single off Storen.
Washington couldn’t muster any offense in the bottom of the ninth. Storen was charged with the loss and Zimmermann’s ERA is up to 3.01 after the dismal afternoon outing.