Zimmerman, Zimmermann Lead Nats Past Milwaukee Brewers, Take Zs From Fans


The Washington Nationals had Jordan Zimmermann going early and got a jolt from Ryan Zimmerman late to beat the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, 4-2 in 16 innings.

The double “n” Zimmermann shut down the Crew for the first four innings before surrendering a couple of runs in the fifth.

But after Anthony Rendon tied the game at 2-2 with an eighth-inning home run, the teams played late into the night and the wee hours of the morning, with the game ending after midnight local time.

Ryan Zimmerman had the big blow, a two-run homer off reliever Mike Fiers (0-1) in the top of the 16th inning, and the Nationals took their second straight in the three-game set.

Washington (41-35) got its lone run off Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo in the top of the first. Denard Span led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored when Jayson Werth bounced out to shortstop—the epitome of the manufactured run.

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  • For awhile, it looked like that was all Auburndale native Zimmermann would need. The right-hander set down the first 10 batters he faced, six by strikeout.

    The Brewers (47-32) looked like they might finally get to Zimmerman in the fourth, however. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy stroked back-to-back singles with one out and Carlos Gomez worked a walk to load the bases.

    But Aramis Ramirez popped up on the infield and Khris Davis struck out to end the threat.

    The Crew finally broke through in the fifth, though. Mark Reynolds singled to right and Jean Segura reached on a bunt single. After Gallardo bunted the runners up a base and Scooter Gennett struck out, Braun grounded a single into left to score both runners and put the Brewers up 2-1.

    Gallardo was very good for six innings, allowing just the one run on four hits, with two walks and five strikeouts, After a rough May during which he posted a 5.79 ERA in five starts, Gallardo has been strong in June, with a 2.53 ERA and 1.031 WHIP in 32 innings.

    Rob Wooten shut the door on the Nationals, fanning two in a 1-2-3 seventh, and Milwaukee turned the ball over to left-hander Will Smith.

    They needed the May Will Smith. Instead, the Brewers got the June one. With one out, Rendon caught a fastball over the plate and took the ball the other way, belting his 12th homer of the season to right-center field.

    Smith was the Brewers’ pitcher of the month in May, when he was unscored upon in 13 innings.

    But this month, Smith has a 3.86 ERA and 1.457 WHIP in 11.2 innings and has surrendered two homers, with his strikeout rate almost half what it was in the first two months of the season. After fanning 12.8 batters per nine innings in April and May, Smith is striking out only 6.9 batters per nine this month.

    After the game was tied, the teams slugged it out for another eight innings, with each team using 19 players and combining to use 15 pitchers.

    The Brewers had a chance to win it in the 13th. Lyle Overbay led off the inning with a single, was sacrified to second by Gennett and moved to third when Braun bounced out. But Washington lefty Ross Detwiler intentionally walked Lucroy and got Gomez to hit a soft liner to short to end the threat.

    That seemed to be Washington’s strategy in extra innings—walking Lucroy to get to Gomez.

    In the 15th inning, the Brewers wound up with a runner on second with two outs. Gennett singled and Braun hit into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond’s relay was wild and Braun wound up at second.

    Tyler Clippard (5-2) intentionally passed Lucroy and got Gomez to pop out harmlessly to end the inning.

    With Fiers, who was a starter at Triple-A Nashville before being recalled earlier this month, entering his fourth inning of work, Adam LaRoche singled with one out and Zimmerman hit a 2-0 fastball out of the park to left center, just his third homer of the season, to give the Nats a 4-2 lead.

    Rafael Soriano retired the Brewers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to get his 18th save. Fiers took the loss, allowing two runs on four hits in four innings, striking out four.

    The Brewer bullpen got a scoreless inning with two strikeouts from Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Zach Duke allowed one hit and fanned two in two innings of work and Tom Gorzelanny worked a 1-2-3 12th.

    Braun was the only Brewer hitter with more than one safety as he was 2-for-6. Milwaukee had 10 hits in the marathon.

    Because it’s exactly what both teams would have wanted after playing until after midnight, the series wraps up Wednesday at 1:10 p.m, at Miller Park, with Marco Estrada (6-4, 5.22 ERA) taking on his original team. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 3.24) counters for Washington.