Ryan Zimmerman is known as Mr. Walkoff, but that wasn’t necessary in his return to the line-up as the Nats won going away. In his first at bat off the DL Ryan Zimmerman smoked a double down the left field line. That first hit had no baring on the outcome of the game but it was good to see Zimmerman hitting the ball with authority and it would prove to be a taste of what was to come.
The Nats would get the scoring started one inning later with Danny Espinosa leading off with an infield single, followed by a Jordan Zimmermann sac bunt, a single by Span, a walk to Rendon to load the bases, a ground rule double by Werth to drive in two runs, and a ground out by LaRoche to drive in the Nats third and final run of the inning. And this would prove to only be the start of the scoring for the Nationals. The big hit for Zimmerman would come in the bottom of the fifth with Span on second and the Phillies having just intentionally walked LaRoche to pitch to him. Zimmerman made them pay with an opposite field double.
Zimmerman would be lifted for a defensive replacement in the eighth inning and finished the game 2-4 with a double to left and a double to right. That gap to gap line drive hitter that can work the count is exactly what the Nats offense has been missing. One game is too soon to know how much of a help Zimmerman’s bat will be but Zimmerman did give a taste of what he’s done his entire career, what he’s capable of, and why the Nationals are willing to put him in left to get the best offensive and defensive line-up on the field.
The scoring wasn’t over after Zimmerman’s double made it 4-0. Leading off the bottom of the sixth Ian Desmond crushed a baseball that bounced off the seats in left and landed on the concourse. It was another long drive for Ian Desmond who over the past three seasons has become one of the best power hitting shortstops in baseball. With two outs in the same inning Span would deliver his third hit of the game and be driven in on Anthony Rendon’s opposite field homer.
Not to be overshadowed by the Nats offense coming to life is the performance of Jordan Zimmermann who pitched eight shutout innings with five hits, four strikeouts, and one walk. The Nats for too many games in 2014 have had the pitching allow two or less runs and the bats remain silent. In the never ending quest for run support this was a refreshing change of pace as the Nats bats were able to make the gem spun by Jordan Zimmermann hold up and get back to .500.
Getting back to .500 is just the first step as now the Nats have to build off winning the series over Texas and taking the first game of this series against the Phillies. Momentum is only as good as the next days starting pitcher and AJ Burnett is a pitcher that has baffled Nats hitters before, but they counter with their Ace Stephen Strasburg and there is no reason to believe the Nationals cannot build off of what has started to build at the tail end of this home stand.