Zimmerman smacks double in first at-bat since April 13 (Nats win 7-0)

The Nationals and their fans welcomed back Ryan Zimmerman to the lineup Tuesday in their series opener against the Phillies.

Playing left field for the first time in his major league career, Zimmerman slapped the first offering from Phillies starter David Buchanan in the second into left field for a double. It was the Nationals’ first hit of the game.

Both pitchers have been solid in the first two innings, each allowing just one base hit (Dominic Brown had a single for Philadelphia), but no runs.

Update: With one out in the third, Buchanan was called safe at first base on a grounder to Adam LaRoche. First base umpire Ed Hickox ruled Buchanan beat the throw from LaRoche to Jordan Zimmermann.

The Nationals challenged the play. The played was reviewed and the call was overturned. Buchanan was the second out of the inning. Estimated time of the delay was one minute, 18 seconds.

No score heading to the bottom of the third inning.

Update II: With the bases loaded and one out in the third, Jayson Werth provided a two-run ground-rule double and the Nationals led 2-0. Adam LaRoche added a RBI groundout for a 3-0 lead.

Update III: With a man on second and two outs in the fifth, the Phillies elected to pitch to Zimmerman instead of LaRoche. The base was open, Zimmerman hasn’t swung a bat in a major league game in nearly two months. Strategy-wise, it was a move that is usually in the pitcher’s favor.

But this is Zimmerman, his bat heats up in seconds rather than days, weeks or months. Zimmerman sliced a RBI double down the right field line and the Nationals led 4-0.

Update IV: A couple of dramatic moonshots for the Nationals in the sixth against Buchanan have extended the lead to 7-0.

Desmond led off with a solo homer, his 11th of the season to make it 5-0. Rendon later added a two-run shot and the Nationals’ lead ballooned to 7-0. It was Rendon’s seventh homer of the season. He has matched his home run total from all of 2013 on June 3.

Update V: Zimmermann gets out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth, keeping the Phillies off the scoreboard.

He ended up going eight innings, allowing five hits, no runs, one walk and struck out four hitters. He threw 102 pitches, 71 for strikes. The eight innings marked his longest outing of the season. he had gone seven innings twice in April (at Miami and vs. St. Louis).

Zimmerman left after seven innings, replaced by Nate McLouth. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI in his return from a broken thumb.

Update VI: The Nationals shut out the Phillies 7-0.

Zimmermann improves to 4-2, Buchanan falls to 1-2. The Nationals have scored 26 runs and allowed only six runs in their last four games, going 3-1.

Span finished with three hits. Danny Espinosa also had two singles and a run scored.

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