Another late night, a much different outcome (with Desmond note)

Of course Jordan Zimmermann would be the Nationals starter to see his team put up 14 runs and 21 hits the night before he takes the mound only to watch the Nationals record just a single run and five hits the night he starts.

Only Jordan Zimmermann.

The righty’s run support has been better lately, but I can’t help but wonder if he was jokingly asking teammates last night if they could’ve just saved some of that firepower from two nights ago and carried it over for his outing.

Zimmermann battled last night, but he didn’t have his sharpest stuff or his best location. Madison Bumgarner had both, and the 23-year-old Giants lefty was rewarded with his 13th win of the season.

Bumgarner befitted from a wind coming in from right that knocked down some well-struck fly balls off Nationals bats, but he was still spectacular last night, allowing just one run and five hits in a complete game win.

The Nats had hit Bumgarner hard in D.C. on July 4, touching him for seven runs in five innings. But Bumgarner is a completely different pitcher at home, where he’s now 8-1 with a 1.88 ERA, compared to 5-6 with a 4.06 ERA away from AT&T Park.

Given the way the Nats have notched a number of their wins this season, you felt like if they could’ve kept the game close in the late innings, they’d have a legitimate shot to pull off yet another comeback victory.

The Giants’ four-run eighth inning put an end to any such thoughts in a hurry, however.

Drew Storen retired just one of the five batters he faced, and that one out was on a sacrifice fly to deep center.

Sean Burnett then allowed both inherited runners to score, putting the Nats down five entering the ninth and effectively ending their shot at some more late-game heroics.

The positive news coming out of San Francisco is that All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond could be activated off the disabled list when the Nats return home to play the Mets on Friday.

Desmond has been out since July 23 with a tear in his left oblique, and the team initially expected him to miss somewhere around five weeks. But Desmond has been recovering more quickly than expected, and manager Davey Johnson told reporters that unless Desmond suffers a setback during a workout today or a simulated game Thursday, he could be back in the Nationals lineup Friday.

When Desmond does return, the Nats will need to drop a player from the 25-man roster to make room for the 26-year-old shortstop. Unfortunately for Steve Lombardozzi, who has started every game at second base since Desmond went down and played pretty well, he could be the guy to go.

Lombardozzi has minor league options remaining, while newly acquired backup infielder Cesar Izturis does not. The Nats would probably prefer to keep Izturis on the active roster, option Lombardozzi to Triple-A for a short time, then bring him back up once rosters expand Sept. 1.

Outfielder Tyler Moore also has options remaining, and Johnson admitted he came close to optioning Moore when Jayson Werth came off the DL a couple of weeks ago. He’s also a candidate to go down, but it seems to make more sense to swap players who play similar positions. Also, with Werth and Michael Morse dealing with various bumps and bruises, Moore might be needed at the corner outfield spots in the next couple of weeks.

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