There have been 13 Reds hitters that have stepped to the plate tonight.
One has reached base. Twelve have gone back and had a seat in the dugout.
Jordan Zimmermann is dealing here at Nationals Park tonight. The right-hander has faced just one over the minimum through four innings, with a single by Xavier Paul in the top of the third accounting for the lone baserunner.
Zimmermann has needed just 41 pitches thus far. He’s notched three strikeouts, including one of fearsome Reds slugger Joey Votto, who went down looking at a nasty 96 mph fastball on the inside corner.
The pitch was on the black, and all Votto could do was turn around and shout a couple words at home plate umpire Andy Fletcher before heading back to the visiting dugout.
The Nationals have given Zimmermann a 1-0 lead to work with after Bryce Harper tripled in the bottom of the fourth and then came around to score on a Jayson Werth single.
It was Harper’s first triple of the season and his 14th extra-base hit in 22 games played. He’s now batting .367 on the season.
Reds manager Dusty Baker made an interesting decision with Harper standing on third base and one out, opting to bring his infield in. The decision backfired when Werth’s grounder went through the drawn-in infield and into right, allowing Harper to score.
It was only the fourth inning, but with Zimmermann dominating the way he has so far tonight, Baker knew runs would be tough to come by.
Adam LaRoche, meanwhile, is now in an 0-for-17 slump after popping up and striking out in his first two at-bats tonight.
He tried switching the mojo by changing his walk-up music, going with “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” but it hasn’t worked so far.
Update: Zimmermann is now through six scoreless, having still just allowed the one hit.
Want to talk about being pitch-efficient? How’s 60 pitches over six innings? For the second straight night, the bullpen might not need to do too much.
The Nats have now allowed just two hits over their last 15 innings.
Meanwhile, in Bowie, Wilson Ramos went 0-for-1 with a walk and a fly out in his two plate appearances for Double-A Harrisburg.
Making his first rehab appearance since landing on the DL with a strained left hamstring, Ramos caught his predetermined three innings before being removed from the game.
Update II: Zimmermann will have a shot for his second complete game in three starts, and this one could be a shutout.
The Nats still lead 1-0 mid-way through the eighth, this after Zimmermann struck out pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan with a high slider, stranding a runner at first and ending the top of the eighth.
Zimmermann had walked catcher Corky Miller with two outs, then got into a seven-pitch battle with Hannahan. The Nats’ right-hander won the battle by changing things up, going with the slider after six straight fastballs, and Hannahan couldn’t touch it.
Through eight, Zimmermann is at 86 pitches. The ninth will be his.
Update III: There it is. After notching the first nine-inning complete game of his career two starts ago, Zimmermann has now recorded the first nine-inning shutout of his big league career.
The Nationals beat the Reds 1-0, with Zimmermann going the distance, allowing just one hit and one walk. He threw 91 pitches, 59 for strikes.
What a brilliant effort it was for Zimmerman, who didn’t allow a runner into scoring position all night.