Another gem from Zimmermann (plus roster move)

The move isn't official just yet, but the Nationals will place catcher Jhonatan Solano on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique and recall Sandy Leon from Double-A Harrisburg to serve as their backup catcher.

Leon played one game (well, four innings, really) with the Nats this season before suffering a high-ankle sprain on a play at the plate, landing him on the DL. He's expected to be with the Nationals for Thursday's 12:35 p.m. start.

Davey Johnson got a kick out of Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Mets. He enjoyed Wednesday night's 4-3 win over New York as well.

"That was almost as fun as last night," Johnson said with a smile.

Things got a bit interesting in the ninth inning when the Mets smacked two solo home runs off Tyler Clippard to cut a 4-1 lead to just a one-run advantage, but Clippard closed it out to get Jordan Zimmermann his seventh win of the season.

Zimmermann went six scoreless innings, striking out four and walking none.

"Zim was outstanding," Johnson said. "He just continues to go out there and put zeros up. He's pitched well enough to be 12-2 or something. That was big for the team, big for him."

The game was still scoreless when Zimmermann left the mound for the final time, but the Nats were able to tack on two runs in the bottom of the sixth on Adam LaRoche's two-run homer. That left the Nationals starter in line for his seventh win of the season, a remarkably low total for a pitcher with a 2.35 ERA.

"Fortunately, Adam came up with a big hit tonight," Zimmermann said. "I'll buy him whatever he wants, a steak or something."

LaRoche's response: "I'll take him up on that."

Zimmermann has posted 17 quality starts in his 19 outings this season, but he's really hit his stride lately. The 26-year-old has now has allowed a total of three earned runs over his last five outings and has put up back-to-back scoreless starts.

"The first two or three (outings) before the break I felt went well," Zimmermann said. "I just wanted to finish strong in the first half and have some momentum going into the second half. And these first two two have been just what I wanted."

The fact that Zimmermann is seemingly getting stronger as the season goes on is certainly a good sign for the Nationals, especially given how he finished last year. In 2011, Zimmermann posted a 2.66 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break, but a 4.47 ERA in eight second-half starts before being shut down due to his post-Tommy John innings limit.

This season, he's gotten better as the season has gotten deeper.

"I definitely feel stronger another year after surgery," Zimmermann said. "Last year was hit or miss. I didn't know how I was going to feel. But this whole year I've been feeling great. I haven't had any aches or pains. So knock on wood I hope that keeps going.

"I want to finish the season strong, not just the first half. And so far, so good. And I want to keep getting stronger as the season goes on."

Yet again, the No. 3 guy in the Nationals' rotation shut down an opponent, making it harder for the rest of the league to keep overlooking him.

"I can't say enough about him," LaRoche said. "He's quiet and goes about his business but he's turning into a No. 1 for anybody."

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