Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann notched his ninth win in a 6-2 Nationals defeat of the Giants, but the first question for him at his locker was how Hunter Pence crushed his high fastball over the fence for a 2-0 San Francisco lead in the first inning?
“Very surprised. There’s only one guy in the game that is going to hit that pitch and that’s him,” Zimmermann said. “I threw it right where I wanted to, 0-2, up by his shoulders, beats me how he hit it that far.”
Zimmermann wasn’t the only player on the field impressed with Pence’s homer.
“He has a great power swing, but I got surprised when he hit the ball that far,” said second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera.
And speaking of second base, that was originally where center fielder Denard Span thought Pence’s fly ball was going. He was off a little bit on that prediction.
“Honestly, when he first hit it I thought it was a routine pop fly to the second baseman and then the ball just kept going,” Span said. “It seemed like the pitch was at his neck. He’s special, that’s all I can say.”
But Span said the good thing about Zimmermann is he did not let the mammoth shot from Pence carry over in the later innings.
“He didn’t get rattled at all,” Span said. It seemed like he focused a little bit more and buckled down, and kept them right there and gave us obviously a chance to win.”
Zimmermann said he felt confident in his outing, despite the early deficit. He got into a groove to the point where he was able to mix in breaking pitches later in the game.
“I had a good fastball and I was locating in and out,” Zimmermann said. “Slider was there and then I mixed a curveball in (the) second or third time through the lineup. I started through more curveballs. Last two innings I mixed in a few changeups and got some groundballs. Overall, Willy (Ramos) and I were on the same page and defense played great.”
“He did a really good job,” Cabrera said. “He work both sides of the plate, side to side. He was aggressive with his fastball. I think that was (solid) work for him.”
Cabrera said he did remember what it was like to face Zimmermann while with the Indians.
“The only thing I know of him was he was aggressive with his fastball,” Cabrera said. “He throw hard and he throw fastball any count, any pitch.”
Cabrera connected on a long homer himself, a solo shot off of Tim Lincecum that gave the Nationals a 6-2 lead.
“Hard fastball away,” Cabrera said of the homer. “I’m trying to get into (a good) count, I was 2-0 on the count. I hit it good.”
Span said it was important to bounce back after their first loss in 11 games with a victory and not start a different streak on Saturday following Friday’s 10-3 loss.
“It was real big,” Span said. “After they scored 10 runs last night and for them to jump out two-zip, I think it was real important and just real good for us to answer back with two runs of our own.
“Definitely good for us because you see a lot of teams that they go through streaks like that, then all of sudden, I don’t want to jinx us or anything like that, they go on losing streaks. It was good for us to respond that way.”