Nats smack around a two-time Cy Young award winner (Nats win 9-3)

It wasn’t that long ago that Tim Lincecum was without question one of the top two or three pitchers in baseball.

The Giants righty won the National League Cy Young award in 2008 and 2009 and made the All-Star Game each of the last four years.

This season has been a little different for Lincecum.

He entered today with a 5.60 ERA, and that number has only risen tonight. Lincecum has allowed five runs on eight hits through just three innings.

Ian Desmond has two of those hits, including a two-run homer (his 14th longball of the season), and Danny Espinosa, Adam LaRoche and even Jordan Zimmermann have added RBI doubles.

That’s four extra-base hits already for the Nats, and even their knocks that have just gone for a single bag have been ripped.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, has put the leadoff man on twice through three innings, but both times has left that runner stranded in scoring position. For once, the Nationals righty has a comfortable lead at home, as he tries to earn his first win at Nats Park since last August 18.

It’s 5-0 Nationals as we go to the fourth.

Update: The Nats added three more runs in the fourth, chasing Lincecum after just 3 1/3 innings. The eight runs (seven earned) allowed by the Giants righty is a career high.

Zimmermann is through six innings for the 16th time in as many outings this season. He’s allowed just two runs (one earned) so far.

Unfortunately for Zimmermann - and everyone on the Nationals’ and Giants’ rosters, really - we’ve got a rain delay here as we start the seventh inning. The tarp is on the field, and even though the first wave of rain has passed, it looks like we’ll get some more here in a bit.

Don’t worry, Mother Nature. It’s not like we’ve got a game tomorrow at 11 a.m., or anything.

Oh, wait ... we do.

Update II: And we’re back, after an 85-minute rain delay.

Ryan Mattheus took the mound as action resumed and got a strikeout and a 6-4-3 double play to end the top of the seventh. We can close the book on Zimmermann, who went six-plus innings, allowing seven hits, two runs (one earned), no walks and seven strikeouts.

That’s another quality start for Zimmermann, his 14th in 16 starts.

Update III: In a game that took nearly four and a half hours from first pitch to last pitch, the Nationals beat the Giants 9-3.

Washington is now 14 games above.500. They’ll send Edwin Jackson to the mound tomorrow against Madison Bumgarner for an 11 a.m. first pitch.

Get some sleep, folks. We’ll be back at it before you know it.

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