Flores flexes his muscles (Zimmermann on the hook for the loss)

The actor who played Steve Urkel on “Family Matters” - Jaleel White - threw out the first pitch before today’s ballgame.

He fired a strike in on the outer half. Must’ve actually been Stefan Urquelle sneaking onto the mound without anyone noticing.

The Nats lead 2-1 midway through the fourth inning thanks to a two-RBI double by Jesus Flores.

But this wasn’t your standard two-RBI double. The ball traveled to the base of the 377-foot marker in left-center field despite the fact that Flores’ bat shattered in half at contact.

The barrel went spinning out to the left side of the infield while the ball flew all the way to the wall, bringing in Michael Morse and Tyler Moore to get the Nats their first lead of this series.

I knew Flores was strong, by my goodness, that was a shot. Flores didn’t even really know how to react as soon as the ball came off the bat, as he lingered at home plate for a couple seconds, almost half-expecting the ball to be caught out in shallow left.

Instead, it kept traveling and gave the catcher his 10th and 11th RBIs of the season.

Jordan Zimmermann has now gotten through four innings, and he should still have a shutout if not for some very sloppy defense in the fourth. While a dropped pop-up in shallow left didn’t end up doing any damage when Xavier Nady recovered to get a force at third, Danny Espinosa’s low throw on a potential inning-ending double play ball allowed the frame to continue for Eric Chavez.

Chavez’s routine grounder to short again should have resulted in the third out, but Ian Desmond booted it, giving him his second error in as many days and bringing Nick Swisher in to make it a 2-1 game.

Bryce Harper, meanwhile, has struck out in both of his at-bats today against Andy Pettitte. The 40-year-old veteran has needed just seven pitches to twice sit the 19-year-old rookie down on strikes.

Update: While he often cruises through the early innings, for whatever reason, Zimmermann seems to have serious issues once he gets to the sixth.

Today, the Yankees plated two runs in the sixth inning to give them a 3-2 lead over the Nats and leave Zimmermann in line for the loss.

In innings 1-5 this season, Zimmermann’s ERA is 1.93. In innings 6-7, his ERA is 6.38. The Nats now have 12 outs to get their starter off the hook for what would be another tough-luck loss.

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