CHICAGO - The Cubs are absolutely laying into Jordan Zimmermann.
Three home runs, two of them three-run shots, have been hit off the Nationals’ right-hander, who now trails 8-0 after five innings.
Nate Schierholtz crushed a three-run shot to right four batters into the bottom of the first. Donnie Murphy smoked a solo shot to right leading off the fourth. And three batters into the fifth, Dioner Navarro demolished a Zimmermann offering out to right for another three-run blast.
Add in two doubles and you have five extra-base hits that have been hit off Zimmermann through five.
This ties the most home runs Zimmermann has allowed in a single start in his career.
He’s allowed three homers in an outing four times prior to tonight - once earlier this season against the Orioles at Camden Yards, once in May of 2012 against the Pirates, once in 2010 against the Phillies and once in his rookie season of 2009 against the Cardinals.
The Nats’ bats, meanwhile, have been silent today. They have just four hits off Cubs righty Jeff Samardzija, all of which were singles.
Only one Nats baserunner has touched second base, and Samardzija has struck out four so far.
Update: Zimmermann is now done for the day and so is the Zimmerman with one “n”.
Ryan Zimmerman has been double-switched out of the ballgame midway through the sixth, with Steve Lombardozzi taking over at third base.
Zimmerman missed most of yesterday’s game (he entered in the ninth as a pinch-hitter) with a bruised left shin that came as a result of a foul ball off the shin Saturday night. He then fouled a ball off that area earlier tonight.
The third baseman was wearing a shin guard for the second straight day. It’s possible that his exit is unrelated to the injury, but there isn’t much reason for Davey Johnson to pull one of his top power hitters otherwise.
Meanwhile, Zimmermann’s night is over after just the five innings of work. He allowed eight runs on seven hits, striking out five, walking two and giving up the three home runs.
The Nats’ tired bullpen will need to deliver at least three innings tonight.
Update II: It gets worse.
The Nats have now allowed five home runs tonight. Two have come from Schierholtz, two have come from Murphy. It’s now an 11-1 game.
Fernando Abad served up a two-run shot to Schierholtz in the seventh, giving the right fielder six RBIs on the game. In the eighth, Ian Krol, a native of nearby Naperville, Ill., gave up a solo shot to Murphy to dead center, making it a 10-run Cubs lead.
David DeJesus made his Nats debut in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hit opportunity and a rousing ovation from Cubs fans. DeJesus popped up to short to end the inning.
He’s on the wrong side of this one tonight.
Update III: Well, this one was quite a stinker.
The Nats drop the opener of this four-game set 11-1, as Samardzija threw a complete game, allowing just one run on six hits. The right-hander needed just 105 pitches to breeze through nine innings.
This is the 33rd time this season the Nats have scored one run or fewer.