The Nationals pounced on starter Tim Lincecum and the first-place San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park July 3rd for a 9-3 win.
The Nats clicked on all cylinders, pounding out 13 hits and getting a strong pitching performance from Jordan Zimmermann, who improved to 5-6 on the year.
Washington gave Zimmermann a hefty lead to work with, as the Nats have now produced 20 runs in the righty’s last two starts. When asked how it feels to have this surge of run support, Zimmermann responded with a smile.
“It’s definitely nice,” Zimmermann said. “I mean, they’re starting to come around and score early and give you a little room to breathe when you’re out there.”
Zimmermann didn’t need too much breathing room Tuesday, giving up seven hits, two runs (one earned) and striking out seven in a rain-shortened six innings pitched. The Wisconsin native has pitched at least six innings in every start this season.
“He’s obviously the bulldog of our staff,” Washington shortstop Ian Desmond said. “That’s what kind of hurts, when you don’t score runs for him.”
The Nationals hitters made quick work of Lincecum, a two-time CY Young award winner who dropped to 3-9 on the year. The struggling right-hander lasted only 3 1-3 innings, giving up nine hits, eight runs (seven earned), two walks and fanning only two. Lincecum saw his ERA climb past six after facing a lineup that has bullied opposing pitching the past week.
“If they keep hitting the way they’re hitting now, I don’t see how we can’t just run away with this in the second half”, Zimmermann said. “If we keep hitting the way we are now, it’s going to be tough to beat us.”
Since June 26th, the Nationals are averaging over eight runs per game. With the exception of catcher Jesus Flores, every starting National tallied a hit against the Giants. That even includes Zimmermann, who helped his own cause with a double in the second inning that scored Danny Espinosa. Desmond hit his 14th home run of the year in the third to put the Nats up 5-0.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well,” Desmond said. “It was good to come off a day off and swing the bats like that, and we didn’t lose any momentum.”
The Nats hope they can carry that momentum into Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 11:05 a.m. The game will showcase one of the league’s best young left-handers, as Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for the Giants. The Nats will look for their third straight victory when they trot out veteran righty Edwin Jackson.