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Zimmermann dominates Marlins, wins 19th for Nats

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Jordan Zimmermann has a two-hitter to go with his one-hitter and needs just one more win to get to 20. Such milestones are starting to look more and more like consolation prizes because of improbable events some 250 miles away.

Zimmermann (19-8) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and picked up his NL-leading 19th win Friday night, facing only three batters above the minimum in the Washington Nationals' 8-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.

"The breaking ball out of his hand, it was fooling me, to be honest," said Washington's Denard Span, watching from his perch in center field. "He was buckling me out there."

Zimmermann walked one, struck out nine and allowed two hits in his fourth complete game of the season. He had a one-hitter on April 26 in a 1-0 win over the Reds.

"You could tell from the first pitch of the ball game that Zimm wasn't going to be denied," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "He was going right after them. He was throwing hard."

The elation could only last so long, however, because the Nationals retreated to their clubhouse and watched on television as the Cincinnati Reds scored three runs with two outs in the ninth to tie the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds then won it in the 10th, putting Washington five games behind both teams with only eight to play in the NL wild-card race.

"We're not mathematically out of it yet," Zimmermann said. "So we've got to keep fighting until the end, and hopefully one of these other two teams tank."

After hovering near .500 for most of the season, the defending NL East champs have won 12 of 14 and 29 of 40. With Zimmermann so effective, they got all the offense they needed -- and then some -- when they sent 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run sixth against Marlins starter Jacob Turner (3-8) and reliever Chris Hatcher.

Zimmermann passed the 200-inning mark for the season and lowered his ERA to 3.18. There's no telling how his season might have played out had he not been bothered midseason by a stiff neck, an ailment that has finally gone away.

"It's actually fun waking up the morning," Zimmermann said, "knowing there's not going to be any pain in your neck."

It was obvious from the get-go that Zimmermann had his best stuff. Many of his pitches seemed to have out-of-this-world movement, making it an unfair fight against most anyone holding a bat.

"Zimmermann, you got to give him credit," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He understands the magnitude of this game for them and where they are. It's a must-win. He went out there and did what a really good pitcher does."

Zimmermann needed only nine pitches to get through the first inning, eight of them strikes. He struck out the side in the second, getting Logan Morrison to flail at a high 96 mph fastball to end the inning. The perfect game ended with a two-out, five-pitch walk to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth, but the next hitter, Justin Ruggiano, was left so clueless by a two-strike, 88 mph slider that the centerfielder's left hand came off the bat during a halfhearted swing.

Second baseman Anthony Rendon made two nice plays on sharply hit one-hoppers -- to his right in the fifth, to his left in the sixth -- to allow those in the ballpark to start pondering the possibility of the franchise's first no-hitter since the move from Montreal in 2005.

Donovan Solano rendered such hopes mute with a solid single to center with two outs in the sixth, eliciting an "awwww" of disappointment and then a nice ovation from the crowd.

Until then, Turner had been nearly as stingy, allowing three hits and no runs through five innings. The Nationals broke the scoreless tie by opening the bottom of the sixth with four consecutive hits, including back-to-back doubles by Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper. Denard Span had two hits in the inning, including a two-run triple.

"It's not about who throws the ball well for five innings. The other guy went nine," Turner said. "That's really the ultimate goal of a starter, to go deeper in the game."

Notes

Turner has lost seven consecutive decisions and remains winless in his career on the road (0-8). ... The Marlins are 0-8 this season at Nationals Park. ... The Nationals wore blue and yellow patches on their jerseys in memory of the victims of the mass shooting Monday at the nearby Navy Yard. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg played catch with no apparent ill effects before the game and is expected to start Saturday for the Nationals. Strasburg's scheduled start Thursday was pushed back two days because of tightness in his forearm. ... RHP Tom Koehler, the Marlins' scheduled starter Saturday, cut a finger on his left hand while lifting weights but is expected to pitch. "He should be fine," Redmond said. "It's his glove hand." ... Johnson was all smiles before the game, having defended his member-guest title over 18 holes at Congressional Country Club. "So a win's a bonus tonight," he said.

 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jordan Zimmermann goes the distance and yields only two hits to earn his NL-best 19th victory.  (USATSI)
Jordan Zimmermann goes the distance and yields only two hits to earn his NL-best 19th victory. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Washington

J. Zimmermann
IP 9.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 1
K 9
Washington

J. Werth
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Miami Marlins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Donovan Solano, 2B4010000 .252
Chris Coghlan, LF4010021 .259
Giancarlo Stanton, RF3000111 .251
Justin Ruggiano, CF3000021 .223
   Brad Hand, P0000000 .000
Ed Lucas, 3B3000010 .254
Logan Morrison, 1B3000010 .243
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS3000000 .225
Jeff Mathis, C3000020 .189
Jacob Turner, P2000000 .086
   Chris Hatcher, P0000000 .000
   Jacob Marisnick, CF1000000 .183
Totals2902019  
Batting
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Justin Ruggiano 1
Miami Marlins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jacob Turner (L,3-8) 5.1755230 3.74
Chris Hatcher 0.2322000 12.46
Brad Hand 2111120 3.14
Pitches-Strikes - Jacob Turner 75-47, Chris Hatcher 22-15, Brad Hand 33-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jacob Turner 7-5, Chris Hatcher 1-1, Brad Hand 2-2
Batters Faced - Jacob Turner 24, Chris Hatcher 5, Brad Hand 8
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF5122011 .282
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4110002 .282
Jayson Werth, RF3212100 .321
   Corey Brown, RF0000000 .200
Bryce Harper, LF4111001 .285
Ian Desmond, SS4021011 .286
Adam LaRoche, 1B2100212 .238
Wilson Ramos, C4021012 .281
Anthony Rendon, 2B4121000 .263
Jordan Zimmermann, P4100012 .111
Totals34811835  
Batting
2B - Jayson Werth (23, Turner), Bryce Harper (23, Turner), Ian Desmond (38, Hand)
3B - Denard Span (10, Hatcher)
RBI - Denard Span 2 (44), Jayson Werth 2 (77), Bryce Harper (56), Ian Desmond (80), Wilson Ramos (56), Anthony Rendon (34)
2-OUT RBI - Denard Span 2 (30)
Team LOB - 5
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jordan Zimmermann (W,19-8) 9200190 3.18
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 107-79
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 10-8
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 30
Game Information
Attendance - 34752
Game Time - 2:22
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Bill Welke