Desmond goes deep for 3-0 Nats lead (Zimmermann fans 12 in gem)

The Nationals took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning at Petco Park on Sunday afternoon, parlaying a hustle double by Denard Span and a stolen base into a run-scoring groundout by Kevin Frandsen.

In the second, Ian Desmond homered for the second straight game, again blasting a ball over the wall in center field for his team-leading 13th homer. It scored Ryan Zimmerman, who had led off the frame with a single.

Three runs isn’t a windfall, but it’s a nice early cushion for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who fanned two of the three camoflaged hitters he faced in the first inning.

Update: Things haven’t gotten any better for the Padres, and starter Eric Stults couldn’t get out of the third. Consecutive singles by Frandsen, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche upped the lead to 4-0 in the third. Desmond’s one-out single loaded the bases and chased Stults in favor of Tim Stauffer.

Danny Espinosa greeted Stauffer with a two-RBI single to right, making it 6-0, before Jose Lobaton grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Update II: Through five innings, Zimmermann has yet to allow a hit or a runner. Fifteen up, 15 down. Only one ball has been hit into the outfield.

Update III: Alexi Amarista’s line drive single to right with one down in the sixth gives the Padres their first hit of the afternoon, ending Zimmermann’s flirtation with history. That means the last no-hitter and perfect game in franchise history will remain Dennis Martinez’s 2-0 gem for the Expos at Dodger Stadium on July 28, 1991.

The Expos had four no-hitters in their existence, with Bill Stoneman (1969 and 1972) and Charlie Lea (1981) preceding El Presidente.

Update III: Zimmermann finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts in a complete-game shutout as the Nationals blanked the Padres 6-0. Zimmermann allowed only two hits, and posted his third career shutout and sixth career complete game.

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