Sep 20, 2013, 9:28 PM EDT
Game in a nutshell: Some pitchers’ duel tonight, huh? Well, for five innings, it was. Then the Nationals’ lineup went nuts against Jacob Turner, mashing out seven runs in the bottom of the sixth. That was way more run support than Jordan Zimmermann needed. The right-hander dominated the Marlins’ lineup from the get-go, allowing only two singles and one walk during a sparkling performance. Thus the Nationals won for the 29th time in 40 games to improve to 83-71. With the Reds trailing late in Pittsburgh, the Nationals have a chance to draw to within 4 games of the Reds with 8 to play.
Hitting highlight: Stymied by Turner for five innings, the Nationals looked like they were in for a long night at the plate. Then came the bottom of the sixth, and quite a turn of events. The Nats sent 11 batters to plate, and seven of them came all the way around to touch the plate again. Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span all produced RBI hits, knocking Turner out of the game and turning what had been a scoreless pitchers’ duel into a blowout.
Pitching highlight: Sometimes you can just tell early on if a pitcher has “it” on a given night. Tonight, it was clear Zimmermann did from the moment he took the mound. He cruised through the top of the first and never let up. He struck out six of the first eight batters he faced, using a wicked slider to complement his 95-mph fastball. He issued a two-out walk to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth, then a one-out single to Donovan Solano in the sixth, and that was it until another single in the ninth. With his pitch count at 92, Zimmermann took the mound in the ninth to a standing ovation, and he departed to another after completing the game.
Key stat: Wilson Ramos now has 50 RBI in 58 games since returning from the disabled list on July 4.
Up next: Stephen Strasburg, cleared to take the mound after experiencing no problems during a throwing session today, will make his first start in 13 days. Right-hander Tom Koehler will oppose Strasburg in the 7:05 p.m. game Saturday night.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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