Jordan Zimmermann took a shutout into the seventh inning, and manager Davey Johnson sent him back out to the mound after he’d thrown 95 pitches through six innings. But the seventh, as it’s been several times this year, proved to be Zimmermann’s undoing.
Hitters were batting .385/.429/.667 off him in the seventh inning this year, after hitting below .250 against him in the rest of his innings. And on Tuesday night, he walked Chris Young before grooving a fastball to Sean Burroughs. The former No. 1 overall pick blasted it to right field for his first homer in the majors since 2005, and pitcher Ian Kennedy doubled to deep right. Tyler Clippard got the Nationals out of a jam with back-to-back strikeouts, but the Diamondbacks lead the Nationals 2-0.
Zimmermann is at 157 innings now, meaning he’ll probably get one more start this year. If he gets a shot to pitch into the seventh inning again, he can try to finish his year on a better note; he was superb all night, but he’s left some pitches up late in games several times this year, taking superlative starts into the realm of very good.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have just six hits off Kennedy, and they’ll have to rally in the eighth or ninth inning if they want to pull this one out.