Zimmermann pleased with outing, looking at big picture

It was another workmanlike effort for starter Jordan Zimmermann. Tossing seven innings, in which he had one strikeout in each frame, the Nationals right-hander held the Phillies to a pair of early runs and coasted to an 11-2 victory.

Zimmermann picked up his National League-leading 18th victory, and the Nationals are now 21-9 in games he starts this season.

“It feels good,” said Zimmermann. “But, then again, I will trade all those wins in for a spot in the playoffs. That is the only thing that matters right now. We are playing good ball and scoring some runs, so it is definitely fun.”

With the win, the Nationals moved up to 4 1/2 games back of the Reds for the final NL wildcard spot, thanks to Milwaukee’s stunning 6-5 rally against Cincinnati. But Zimmermann said they are concentrating on what they do, not the other team’s chances.

“The only thing we can control right now is us winning,” Zimmermann said. “If we get beat out at the end of the year, at least we gave it our all and didn’t really look at other scores that much. All that matters is we take our business and take one game at a time.”

What also matter is how good the pitching has been. The Nationals pitching staff has allowed only 13 runs in the past seven games.

It also helps when the starter gets run support. The Nationals came back from early 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to go up 6-2 in the sixth inning. Then, in the seventh, they scored five runs on seven hits to slam the door, 11-2.

“Everything was good,” Zimmermann said. “A couple of innings early, I got myself in trouble with leadoff hits and had to work out of them. It is a lot easier when you get that leadoff guy out. It seems to go pretty smooth. I thought all my stuff was good, fastball was good. Command was there today. Good results.”

Wilson Ramos tied career highs in hits and RBIs, going 4-for-4 with two runs, a homer and five RBIs. Ramos’ 15th homer is also the most by a catcher in Nationals’ history, breaking the mark of 14 homers set by Ramos last season.

Zimmermann said Ramos has been amazing, and he is happy his catcher is healthy again.

“If he didn’t have any hamstring problems, who knows what would happen? He is playing great right now,” Zimmermann said. “Hopefully, he will be full strength all next year, and see what he really does.”

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