SEATTLE - So much for that great pitchers’ duel we were all expecting.
The Nationals hit four of their six home runs tonight off Felix Hernandez, who entered tonight’s game with a 2.07 ERA on the season and had never allowed four homers in an outing in his career, and rolled to an 8-3 win in the opener of this three-game set.
Jordan Zimmermann allowed two runs in the first inning, but then settled in, and got his 10th win of the season after giving up just those two runs over six frames.
The win snaps the Nats’ mini three-game losing streak and keeps them six games up on the Braves in the National League East.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the win.
On the offensive output: “They were aggressive with Felix and got some balls up in the zone to hit. It’s a big ballpark. You don’t expect that in a park like this. But they put some good swings on it.”
On if he was surprised with the six homers, given Hernandez was on the mound and the large ballpark: “It’s not how we live, by any stretch. Generally, we’re putting good at-bats together. But tonight, it worked. Tonight, Jayson hit a curveball, Wilson hit an off-speed pitch out of the ballpark. Just a good effort.”
On what stands out about the team’s offensive approach overall: “I think they were patient enough to get good pitches to hit. When he’s successful, he’s throwing the ball and it looks like it’s in the zone, but it’s not. They got balls up in the strike zone today, which was good.”
On Desmond’s at-bat that started 0-2 and resulted in the homer: “Fouled a couple really nasty ones off down the right field line. Almost hit a double, almost on the line, on a split or a curveball or something off-speed. Then he tried to come back in and left it out over and put a nice swing on it.”
On what changed for Zimmermann after the first inning: “I just think they were aggressive and he was throwing the ball in the strike zone with his fastball. Then found his breaking ball third or fourth inning. That allowed him to get comfortable out there and make pitches.”
“One more thing - we talk about effort, and it’s really important to have effort. Especially in the press box when that ball’s coming back there. OK, you two? Find the baseball. I understand if it was coming at your computer, you would’ve made a play. But we’ve got to dive, fellas.”