He delivered three doubles, two of them at key moments to drive in runs, one of them to notch the 1,000th RBI of his career. He scampered around the bases and scored a critical run on a bad foot. But he also missed a golden opportunity to win the game at the plate. And then he cost his team with a misplay in the field that helped the Royals pull off a 7-4 11-inning win over the Nationals.
Suffice it to say, this was the most eventful night of the season for Ryan Zimmerman.
The veteran first baseman wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with the end result, but he was pleased in the bigger picture after going 3-for-6 with three doubles, this after going 2-for-4 with a lineout to the warning track on Thursday.
“I think the last couple days, I’ve been starting to feel a lot better at the plate,” he said last night. “Not that I was feeling bad when I first came up, but it usually takes a few games to get into a rhythm. I’ve been really happy with the at-bats I’ve had. Obviously frustrated over the at-bat where there’s guys at first and third. I take pride in driving those runs in. It stinks that I couldn’t get it done right there. But a good night for the team, battled back like we’ve been doing all year. Tough loss, but we’ll wipe it out and come back and try to win tomorrow.”
After spending 8 1/2 weeks on the injured list recovering from plantar fasciitis, Zimmerman has been trying to get himself back into a groove at the plate over the last week. Things didn’t start off so well; he went 2-for-12 upon returning from the IL.
But then Zimmerman notched two hits plus that drive to the warning track on Thursday, all encouraging signs. And then he opened Friday night’s game with an opposite-field double, followed by a pair of run-scoring doubles down the left field line in major moments in the contest.
So now he’s 7-for-21 overall since returning from the IL.
“He’s actually starting to swing the bat really well,” manager Davey Martinez said. “The thing with Zim is, when he starts hitting the ball the other way like he did in his first at bat, you can tell that’s he’s starting to get locked in.”
Zimmerman’s first run-scoring double Friday night gave him his long-awaited 1,000th career RBI, a big round number that had been within reach since late April. He’s only the 43rd player in major league history to compile that many RBIs for one franchise.
“Obviously a pretty cool milestone to get,” he said. “I think I’ve been lucky enough to play for a long time. Really lucky to play for the same team. So to have all those with this uniform on is special to me. It’s something I never really thought about when I came up. I was more of a defensive player. So to get that many RBIs is obviously a big career mark for me. It would’ve been better to get it in a win. But the team fought tonight. It was a great back-and-forth. But a pretty cool accomplishment.”
Zimmerman’s second RBI of the night was followed by a 180-foot sprint around the bases to score on Brian Dozier’s single to right-center. That was the toughest test to date of his right foot, and though he came out of it all right, he didn’t exactly have a spring in his step.
“Obviously, as I’m going to play games and run as much as I did, it’s going to get sore,” he said. “But I think that’s kind of what happened in rehab games, and then we’d treat it and do what we do every night and it gets back to basically ground zero and we go from there. I’m not going to play every single day. I think that was no surprise coming back. ... The plan was not for me to come back and play every single day. When I have games like this, we’ll treat it and see how it feels tomorrow and go from there.”