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San Diego at Washington

Scoreboard
San Diego (49-34)1010000305130
Washington (37-47) «3001100016111

All-Star hopeful Zimmerman slams walk-off homer for Nationals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman is putting a June swoon behind him -- and making a strong case to join the National League All-Star team.

Zimmerman's second homer of the game, a shot to center field off Luke Gregerson leading off the bottom of the ninth, lifted the Washington Nationals to a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

"We all know Zim's an All-Star. He's playing like an All-Star, he's always played like an All-Star. We all are just hoping that he gets in," said Michael Morse, who matched a career-high with three hits for the Nationals.

Zimmerman, trying to secure the final spot on the NL All-Star team in an Internet vote, hit an 0-1 pitch from Gregerson (2-4) over the wall in center.

Gregerson thought he could sneak a fastball away past Zimmerman, but he caught too much of the plate.

"Right pitch, bad execution," Gregerson said.

Zimmerman had earlier homered in the fourth and has three homers in two games since All-Star rosters were announced Sunday. He has two multiple homer games this season -- both against the Padres, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

"I've been working hard the last week or so and I've been struggling the last three weeks, four weeks, however many weeks it is," said Zimmerman, who hit .245 with two homers and eight RBI in June. "It's frustrating. Nobody wants to do that. ... It's finally starting to get back to where I want to be."

Padres manager Bud Black was already a believer in the Nationals third baseman.

"He's a very good player -- no doubt. I voted for him for the All-Star Game -- that's what I think of Zimmerman," Black said. "My write-in vote's going to go to [San Diego closer Heath Bell], but that's besides the point. Zimmerman's a good player."

Ian Desmond also connected, giving the Nationals their fourth three-homer game of the season.

But it was Desmond's right arm that almost threw the game away for Washington, then nabbed the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth.

Desmond's throwing error on pinch hitter Oscar Salazar's eighth-inning grounder allowed the Padres to score the tying run. In the ninth, his relay of left fielder Josh Willingham's throw cut down Jerry Hairston Jr. at the plate for the final out.

Matt Capps (3-3) worked the ninth for his third victory in six days. Washington claimed its 10th victory in its last at-bat.

The game-time temperature was 99 degrees, making it the warmest game since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, D.C., before the 2005 season.

Morse broke out of a 2-for-22 slump and drove in two runs for the Nationals, who have won three of five.

Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly put the Padres ahead in the first, but Washington rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded, Ivan Rodriguez hit a hard bouncer off Padres starter Clayton Richard's right foot, tying the game on the infield hit, and Morse slapped a two-run single to center.

In the San Diego third, Adrian Gonzalez snapped a season-worst 0-for-17 skid with an RBI single to make it 3-2.

Zimmerman hit his 15th homer of the year to left with one down in the fourth.

"When you make a mistake, [Zimmerman] makes you pay for it," Richard said. "That's [been] proven to us over and over again."

Desmond followed an inning later with his fifth homer, a solo shot into the Padres' bullpen in left.

Nationals starter Livan Hernandez departed with a three-run lead after allowing singles to Gonzalez and Scott Hairston to lead off the eighth. Chase Headley singled off reliever Tyler Clippard and Yorvit Torrealba's line drive to left made it 5-3. Aaron Cunningham hit a sacrifice fly to left.

Sean Burnett relieved and Salazar, batting for pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, hit a grounder to second. Cristian Guzman's shuffle to Desmond at short got one out, but Desmond's relay was wide of first, allowing Headley to score the tying run on his major league-high 21st error.

Hernandez allowed four runs and nine singles in seven-plus innings. Richard yielded five runs and nine hits over six innings.

Notes

  • The previous warmest game-time temperature at a Nationals home game was 94 degrees on June 6, 2008.
  • Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg chatted pregame with his former San Diego State coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who was in town as part of San Diego's TV broadcast team.
  • Desmond's last home run came 31 games ago on May 28, also against Richard.
 
Copyright 2014 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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The Nationals wait for Ryan Zimmerman following his game-winning solo shot in the ninth.  (Getty Images)
The Nationals wait for Ryan Zimmerman following his game-winning solo shot in the ninth. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Washington

R. Zimmerman
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 2
San Diego

A. Gonzalez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
San Diego Padres
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF4100101 .223
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B-SS5030001 .246
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4121103 .293
Scott Hairston, LF4121025 .232
Chase Headley, 3B4120013 .270
Yorvit Torrealba, C4011001 .273
Aaron Cunningham, RF3011001 .316
Everth Cabrera, SS3000001 .203
   a- Matt Stairs, PH0000000 .184
   b- Oscar Salazar, PH1000000 .233
    Mike Adams, P0000000 .000
    Luke Gregerson, P0000000 .000
Clayton Richard, P2120000 .207
   c- Chris Denorfia, PH1000010 .263
    Edward Mujica, P0000000 .000
   d- David Eckstein, PH-2B1000001 .279
Totals36513424  
a-announced for Cabrera in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Stairs in the 8th
c-struck out for Richard in the 7th
d-popped out for Mujica in the 8th
Batting
2B - Scott Hairston (7, Capps)
SF - Scott Hairston (3), Aaron Cunningham (1)
RBI - Adrian Gonzalez (52), Scott Hairston (26), Yorvit Torrealba (16), Aaron Cunningham (7)
CS - Aaron Cunningham (2, 2nd base by Hernandez/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 8
San Diego Padres
Clayton Richard 6955462 3.00
Edward Mujica 1100000 3.10
Mike Adams 1000020 2.20
Luke Gregerson (L,2-4)0111001 2.45
Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Richard 115-70, Edward Mujica 12-10, Mike Adams 18-12, Luke Gregerson 2-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Richard 4-8, Edward Mujica 2-1, Mike Adams 1-0
Batters Faced - Clayton Richard 31, Edward Mujica 4, Mike Adams 3, Luke Gregerson 1
Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF5110022 .253
Cristian Guzman, 2B5010011 .297
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4232101 .293
Adam Dunn, 1B2100211 .273
Josh Willingham, LF3100103 .278
Ivan Rodriguez, C4011010 .305
Mike Morse, RF4032010 .317
    Roger Bernadina, RF0000000 .286
Ian Desmond, SS4121003 .259
Livan Hernandez, P3000012 .107
    Tyler Clippard, P00000001.000
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   a- Willie Harris, PH1000010 .154
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
Totals35611648  
a-struck out for Burnett in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (17, Richard), Mike Morse (2, Mujica)
HR - Ryan Zimmerman 2 (16, Richard, Gregerson), Ian Desmond (5, Richard)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman 2 (46), Ivan Rodriguez (26), Mike Morse 2 (8), Ian Desmond (35)
2-OUT RBI - Ivan Rodriguez (12), Mike Morse 2 (6), Ian Desmond (19)
SB - Nyjer Morgan (19, 2nd base off Richard/Torrealba)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Josh Willingham 1
E - Ian Desmond (21, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez 7944240 3.12
Tyler Clippard (H,17) 0.1210000 2.63
Sean Burnett (BS,1) 0.2000000 2.86
Matt Capps (W,3-3) 1200000 3.11
IBB - Gonzalez by Livan Hernandez
WP - Livan Hernandez (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 111-63, Tyler Clippard 13-9, Sean Burnett 5-4, Matt Capps 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 6-10, Sean Burnett 1-1, Matt Capps 1-1
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 31, Tyler Clippard 3, Sean Burnett 2, Matt Capps 4
Game Information
Attendance - 14039
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 99
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Adrian Johnson