Through 4 1/2 innings, the Nationals have had two runners thrown out on the bases, including one that was cut down at home.
They’ve made two more errors, as Anthony Rendon dropped a pop-up that would have been the third out of the third inning and Ryan Zimmerman unleashed his 11th error - 10 of which have been of the throwing variety - in the fifth.
Still, despite their repeated miscues, the Nats lead 2-0 as they come to bat in the fifth.
A large reason for that is Jordan Zimmermann, who has allowed just a single hit and struck out six through four scoreless innings.
Zimmermann’s pitch count rose quickly, and sat at 64 after three, but he got a tidy five-pitch fifth inning and now has a two-run lead to work with as he takes the mound for the fifth.
He struck out the side in both the second and third innings, but with the Nats having used seven relievers yesterday and Nathan Karns working Game 2 of today’s doubleheader, it’d be nice if Zimmermann could keep that pitch count down and work deep into this ballgame.
The Nats got their two runs in the fourth, but only after Jayson Werth was thrown out at the plate by Twins left fielder Clete Thomas.
Werth tried to score from second on Ian Desmond’s single to left but was gunned down on a strong throw by Thomas. Werth went sliding into catcher Ryan Doumit and awkwardly got his leg tangled up with Doumit’s. He got up slowly and looked to be gingerly walking back to the dugout after getting called out by home plate umpire Chris Conroy.
One batter after Werth was cut down at home, Rendon atoned for his error by beating out an infield single to short. That scored Adam LaRoche, and when shortstop Pedro Florimon’s throw got away from first baseman Justin Morneau, Desmond came in to score, as well.
The Nats have managed seven hits to the Twins’ one, and lead 2-0 in the fifth.
Update: The Nats scored more runs in the fifth inning (five) than they had in any of their last seven games, and now lead 7-0.
This is the most runs the Nats have scored in a game since May 28 in a win over the Orioles, and just the ninth time this year they’ve scored seven or more runs in a game.
All five of the runs came around with two outs, an area in which the Nats have especially struggled this season. They came into today batting .198 with runners in scoring position and two down.
The Nats also walked three times in the fifth inning, this after they’d walked a total of five times in their last seven games.
LaRoche brought one run in with an infield single, Desmond followed with a two-run single, and Rendon brought in two more with a double to right.
The Nats batted around for just the second time this season and finally got to a mediocre starter. It’s about time.
Update II: Zimmermann did his job and then some today. The right-hander threw seven scoreless innings, allowed just two hits and two walks, and struck out eight.
He threw 111 pitches - the last of which struck out Chris Colabello to end the seventh - and 77 strikes.
This marks the 10th time in Zimmermann’s 13 starts this season in which he’s gone at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer. That’s just remarkable consistency.
Zimmermann has also allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once all season.
Today, he has the Nats in position to pick up a much-needed win and also saved the bullpen with the second half of this doubleheader yet to come.