Zimmermann, Nats let Indians take first lead (Nats win 7-6)

This one’s starting to look a lot like Jordan Zimmermann’s rough May 29 start in Baltimore.

Given a 5-0 lead in the third, Zimmermann has let the Indians come all the way back to take a 6-5 advantage in the fifth.

Cleveland scored once in the third, twice in the second and three times with two outs in the fifth. Nick Swisher slimmed the Nationals’ lead to one with an RBI single before Michael Brantley’s two-run double to center put the Indians on top.

Zimmermann’s line so far: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR

That’s one run off of Zimmermann’s season high for runs allowed. He gave up seven in six frames in that May 29 loss.

Before tonight, the right-hander had surrendered just two unearned runs in 15 innings over his last two starts. Through five innings in Cleveland, his season ERA has jumped nearly a half-run from 2.00 to 2.44.

He has thrown 88 pitches with 54 strikes, so he could have another inning or two left in him to settle things down and allow his team to come back.

Update: Well, Zimmermann is done after five to match his shortest start of the season. Craig Stammen has come on in relief to start the sixth.

The line above goes down as final for Zimmermann, who struggled after holding the Indians to one baserunner in the first two innings. He allowed eight hits, including two homers, in his last three frames to blow the big lead the Nats handed him.

Update II: Stammen and lefty Ian Krol each pitched a scoreless frame to keep the Nats within one, giving their team a chance to come back.

And that they did.

Chad Tracy just delivered his second pinch-hit homer of the season, skying a solo shot over the center-field wall with two outs in the eighth. So the Nats and Indians head to the bottom of the inning all knotted up at 6-6. Krol remains in the game looking to keep things tied.

Update III: With two outs in the ninth, Anthony Rendon stepped to the plate and made his first major league homer a big one.

Rendon sent Vinnie Pestano’s 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall for the Nats’ fifth homer of the night and a 7-6 lead.

The bullpen had a lot to do with allowing Washington to come back, holding the Indians scoreless over the last three innings. And now Rafael Soriano is on in the bottom of the ninth looking to close the door on a Nationals win.

Update IV: Soriano looked like he’d make this one an easy ninth after striking out the first two batters. But Mike Aviles doubled with two outs and Michael Bourn then hit a scorcher. But luckily for the Nats, the latter was right to Adam LaRoche at first.

So Soriano earned his 18th save and Storen (1-1) retired just one batter to earn his first win of the season as the Nats evened the series with a 7-6 victory.

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