Zimmerman was just trying to “hit the ball hard” in three-homer game

BALTIMORE - On most nights, three homers in one game by a single player would be something to talk about, especially if you have never accomplished such a feat in your career.

But Wednesday, the Orioles scored seven unanswered runs, capped off by a two-run homer from Chris Davis in a 9-6 comeback win over the Nationals.

Earlier, it was Ryan Zimmerman who had staked the Nationals to a 6-2 lead through five frames, highlighted by three well-hit home runs to left, center and right field of Camden Yards.

But he was not able to enjoy the moment because it came in a loss.

“It is tough to have a night like that and not be able to celebrate or have fun with it because we lost,” Zimmerman said. “I have been swinging the bat better. Tonight, everything came together in one game. Hopefully, we can keep swinging the bats the way we have the last couple of games. We know our pitching is good enough if we score that many runs, we are going to win more than we lose.”

And with the Nationals leading 6-3 in the top of the seventh, Zimmerman arrived at the plate with a chance to become one of only 17 players in the history of baseball to hit four home runs in one game. He struck out looking against Steve Johnson.

Did Zimmerman go to the plate thinking about hitting a fourth round tripper?

He said no, not really.

“I knew I had three home runs. I wasn’t trying to hit four home runs,” he said.

Zimmerman said he has just been focusing on making solid contact. Now, that plan is starting to bear fruit, and he is getting back to the way he has felt when he was hitting well from season to season.

“The whole day, and really the last couple of weeks, I have just been trying to hit the ball hard,” Zimmerman said. “I have always been told if you hit the ball hard, good things happen. Lately, it has been good. Before that, it was a little bit of a scuffle. Unfortunately, that happens a lot at the beginning of the year for me. Tonight was good, and I just got to build off of that.”

The offense has not been where it would like to be to help the pitching. But the last two games, it has started to come together with a total of 15 runs, 21 hits and eight home runs against the Orioles. Zimmerman equates this as a good sign for the Nats in their attempt to get rolling again.

“I know we haven’t been as good or consistent as we know we should be,” Zimmerman said. “When we can go back-to-back nights and get it rolling a little bit especially now that the weather is getting warmer, guys are starting to feel a little better.”

Zimmerman knows that, for the Nationals offense to really hit its stride again, it has to have Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth back from injury.

“Hopefully, we can get healthy again soon,” Zimmerman said. “Any time you can go back-to-back nights of nine runs and six runs, definitely momentum is starting to pick up a little bit. Hitting is contagious. Once some guys start hitting, other guys start hitting and it kind of snowballs from there.”

Both teams combined for eight home runs in the Wednesday slugfest. But how many of the home runs in this game would have left Nationals Park? There were a few warning track flyouts in Tuesday’s game on South Capitol Street. Zimmerman said Camden Yards is one of the better hitting parks around because there are no huge gaps or easy outs in the outfield.

“It has got a great batter’s eye, you can see the ball well,” Zimmerman said. “Really there is not a bad place in the park to hit it. Most parks that are good hitter’s parks will have maybe a deep left-center or a deep right-center and you have to really hit it to get it out. But here, it is pretty nice all around.”

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