The crowd at Nationals Park might have been down for a few minutes after Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hit bid was spoiled with two outs in the sixth on Donovan Solano’s single to center, but the Nationals lifted their fans’ spirits with a huge seven-run bottom half of the inning.
They got seven hits and a walk in the sixth inning alone, batting around and quickly turning what was a scoreless game into a laugher.
Denard Span started the merry-go-round with a leadoff single, giving him a one-game hitting streak. His 29-game streak might have been snapped last night, but he’s got another one going right now and is just 55 games shy of Joe DiMaggio.
History is within sight.
Ryan Zimmerman followed by shooting a single to left, and Jayson Werth then smoked a liner to the gap in left-center, scoring both runners to give the Nats the lead.
But they were nowhere near done.
Bryce Harper followed by lining a double to the gap in right-center, scoring Werth to make it 3-0. After an Ian Desmond groundout, Adam LaRoche walked and Wilson Ramos singled to center, scoring Harper.
Anthony Rendon added an RBI single of his own, bringing in LaRoche, and two batters later, Span brought it all full-circle by crushing a two-run triple to right.
It’s now 7-0 Nats.
In Pittsburgh, the Pirates are leading the Reds 4-2 in the seventh. A Pirates win coupled with a Nats win here in D.C. would bring the Nats to within four games of Cincinnati in the wild card chase.
Update: Not only did Jordan Zimmermann notch his 19th win this season, tying him with the Tigers’ Max Scherzer for the most wins in the majors, but he did it in style.
Zimmermann threw a two-hit shutout tonight in the Nationals’ 8-0 win, allowing just singles by Solano and Chris Coghlan while striking out nine.
Zimmermann had a one-hit shutout earlier this season, back on April 26 in a win over the Reds, and now he has a two-hit shutout to go along with it. This is also his fourth complete game of the year.
The righty is now 19-8 on the season, and his ERA sits at 3.18 after tonight’s performance.
The Nats didn’t give him any run support early, but they gave him plenty in the middle frames, putting up a snowman between the sixth and seventh innings. Six different Nats hitters had at least one RBI tonight, and the Nats had four extra-base hits.
The Reds still trail in Pittsburgh, so the wild card deficit could be down to four by the end of the night.