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Zimmerman's walk-off shot ends Nationals' eight-game losing streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Many times over the last four years, Ryan Zimmerman was the only reason to pay attention to the Washington Nationals. On Sunday, with his team riding its worst losing streak of the season, he made some noise again.

For the fifth time in his career, Zimmerman ended a game with a home run. There was the familiar scene, his right arm aloft as he circled the bases, waiting to be mobbed at the plate, this time after a two-run shot gave the Nationals a 5-4 win over the Florida Marlins.

"Zim doing what Zim does," teammate Willie Harris said. "Coming through."

Zimmerman's homer snapped an eight-game skid for the Nationals, who at this point in the season have modest goals -- such as avoiding 100 losses. For the Marlins, the loss was an especially tough one -- they twice blew a two-run lead, and thus a chance to keep pace in the NL playoff race. They began the day four games back of wild card-leading Colorado.

"This time of year, all of them are tough," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "especially when you have leads in the eighth and ninth inning."

Zimmerman's homer capped a furious finish to a game that, for the longest time, was looking like a sleepy 2-0 shutout in favor of the Marlins. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with the help of a pair of bottom-of-the-order walks and Mike Morse's two-out, two-run single -- a hit that tripled his RBI total for the season -- off reliever Kiko Calero.

"That's the inning I'm more upset about," Gonzalez said. "You've got two outs and we walk a couple of guys and they get a couple of hits."

In the top of the ninth, the Marlins responded with Nick Johnson's two-out, two-run single off Mike MacDougal (1-0), who got the win only because his ninth-inning performance was less miserable than that of Leo Nunez (4-5).

Nunez threw only five pitches. Harris opened with a first-pitch homer to make the score 4-3. Then came a first-pitch infield single by Cristian Guzman, who hustled to beat the throw in a close play at first.

Then, with a 1-1 count to Zimmerman, Nunez went to the change-up.

"He's got a good change-up. He throws it a lot," Zimmerman said. "It's hard to trust yourself and look change-up when a guy throws 94, 95 [mph], but they'd been throwing soft stuff to me all day, so I was kind of looking for it. And he left it up."

The ball landed in the red seats beyond left-center field.

Hanley Ramirez hit his 100th homer for the Marlins, who wasted a solid start by Anibal Sanchez. The right-hander allowed four hits in six sharp innings.

Ramirez's 20th homer of the season leading off the fourth inning landed some 20 rows back in the left-field bleachers. It was the only run of the game until the seventh.

Rookie starter J.D. Martin matched his career high by throwing 6 2/3 innings for the Nationals, allowing six hits.

Florida's Chris Coghlan finished with two hits, giving him a 14-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors this season by a rookie. He jammed his ankle sliding into the catcher's shin guard on a play at the plate in the eighth, but he said he didn't think he would miss any playing time.

Notes

  • Ramirez's 100th homer came in his 595th game, making him the fourth fastest player who primarily plays shortstop to reach the century mark, behind Alex Rodriguez (470), Nomar Garciaparra (491) and Ernie Banks (500), according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • The Marlins will activate RHP Brendan Donnelly from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. He's been out since Aug. 22 with a strained right calf.
  • Washington RHP Craig Stammen had surgery Sunday morning to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. "He now is already is able to extend his arm better than he was before he went in," manager Jim Riggleman said. "They expect him to fully recover over the winter and be ready for spring straining."
  • The Marlins recalled LHP Andrew Miller from New Orleans. He was optioned to the Triple-A club on July 20 with a record of 3-5 and a 4.81 ERA.
  • The Nationals fired director of player development Bobby Williams, who had been overseeing the team's farm system since 2007.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ryan Zimmerman enjoys the ride around the bases during his walk-off shot.  (AP)
Ryan Zimmerman enjoys the ride around the bases during his walk-off shot. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

R. Zimmerman
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Florida

C. Coghlan
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF5121000 .310
    Leo Nunez, P0000000 .000
Nick Johnson, 1B5022013 .300
Hanley Ramirez, SS3111210 .359
Jorge Cantu, 3B4010011 .286
    Renyel Pinto, P0000000 .000
    Kiko Calero, P0000000 .000
   a- John Baker, PH-C1000002 .276
Dan Uggla, 2B4000002 .242
Cody Ross, RF4020001 .267
Ronny Paulino, C4010002 .273
    Emilio Bonifacio, PR0000000 .252
    Brett Carroll, LF0000000 .263
Cameron Maybin, CF2200210 .216
Anibal Sanchez, P2000010 .000
   b- Ross Gload, PH1010000 .265
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
    Wes Helms, 3B0000000 .280
Totals35410445  
a-grounded out for Calero in the 9th
b-singled for Sanchez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nick Johnson (20, Martin), Cody Ross 2 (34, Martin, Martin)
HR - Hanley Ramirez (21, Martin)
SH - Wes Helms (1)
RBI - Chris Coghlan (40), Nick Johnson 2 (54), Hanley Ramirez (92)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Coghlan (13), Nick Johnson 2 (21)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Cameron Maybin 1
Florida Marlins
Anibal Sanchez 6400250 4.47
Matt Lindstrom (H,7) 1100100 5.15
Renyel Pinto (H,12) 0.2122200 3.40
Kiko Calero (BS,4) 0.1100000 2.09
Leo Nunez (BS,6; L,4-5)0333002 4.25
HBP - Dukes (by Anibal Sanchez)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 92-58, Matt Lindstrom 20-10, Renyel Pinto 14-4, Kiko Calero 4-3, Leo Nunez 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 5-8
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 25, Matt Lindstrom 5, Renyel Pinto 5, Kiko Calero 1, Leo Nunez 3
Washington Nationals
Willie Harris, CF-2B4111101 .224
Cristian Guzman, SS4110111 .294
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5112003 .300
Adam Dunn, 1B4010010 .283
Josh Willingham, LF3000100 .284
Elijah Dukes, RF2120100 .260
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B3010014 .252
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   a- Josh Bard, PH1010000 .242
    Jorge Padilla, PR0100000 .059
    Justin Maxwell, CF0000000 .139
Wil Nieves, C3000112 .249
J.D. Martin, P2000010 .176
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
   b- Pete Orr, PH-2B1010000 .385
   c- Mike Morse, PH1012000 .286
    Mike MacDougal, P0000000 .000
Totals33510555  
a-singled for Clippard in the 8th
b-singled for Villone in the 7th
c-singled for Orr in the 8th
Batting
2B - Elijah Dukes (19, Sanchez)
HR - Willie Harris (6, Nunez), Ryan Zimmerman (28, Nunez)
RBI - Willie Harris (22), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (93), Mike Morse 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Morse 2 (3)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Guzman-Gonzalez-Dunn
Washington Nationals
J.D. Martin 6.2622241 4.35
Ron Villone 0.1100000 4.31
Tyler Clippard 1100010 2.63
Mike MacDougal (W,1-0) 1222200 3.43
IBB - H. Ramirez by J.D. Martin, H. Ramirez by Mike MacDougal
WP - Mike MacDougal (9)
Pitches-Strikes - J.D. Martin 96-63, Ron Villone 5-3, Tyler Clippard 13-10, Mike MacDougal 16-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J.D. Martin 8-7, Ron Villone 1-0, Mike MacDougal 3-0
Batters Faced - J.D. Martin 27, Ron Villone 2, Tyler Clippard 4, Mike MacDougal 7
Game Information
Attendance - 22325
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Tim McClelland