Washington goes for its season-high third straight victory when it concludes a three-game set with the Florida Marlins on Sunday.
After shutting out Florida 6-0 in the series opener, the Nationals (11-25) tied their season high in runs with a 7-3 victory on Saturday. The contest was slowed by more than 3 1/2 hours of rain delays and found Washington trailing by one heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
Felipe Lopez’s RBI single tied the game and Zimmerman followed with the grand slam—his second against the Marlins this season—boosting his average to .361 against them with at least one hit in all eight meetings.
“This is what we needed,” Nationals rookie manager Manny Acta said. “We needed Zimmerman to step up for us and carry us. Because he’s our main guy here.”
Following a nearly three-hour rain delay, Austin Kearns hit the franchise’s first inside-the-park homer since 2003 as Washington went on to record its second multihomer game this season.
The Nationals’ offensive outburst gave them their first series win over Florida (16-20) in their last six tries. They are now trying to sweep the Marlins for the first time since Sept. 26-28, 2005.
Jason Simontacchi (0-1, 6.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the Nationals. The right-hander allowed four runs and six hits over six innings in a 6-4 defeat to Milwaukee on Tuesday in his Washington debut.
It was his first big league appearance since 2004 with St. Louis. Simontacchi spent 2005 recovering from shoulder surgery and 2006 in the minors.
“I was pretty excited to be finally back up here and again living the dream we’ve been trying to get to since we were kids,” said Simontacchi, who went 20-10 with a 4.77 ERA in three seasons with St. Louis. “It’s just the results weren’t too good.”
Simontacchi has made two career appearances versus the Marlins, posting a 2.16 ERA, but has yet to earn a decision. He’ll face a Florida team that recorded 13 hits in Saturday’s defeat, including a club-record tying eight doubles.
“We played eight innings of real good baseball really in tough conditions, but you’ve got to get 27 outs,” Marlins rookie manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “There’s no shot clock or the clock running out or any of that stuff. You’ve got to throw the ball over the plate and we didn’t do that in the ninth inning.”
Wes Obermueller (1-1, 3.66) gets the start for Florida in the series finale. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts versus the Nationals - his most wins versus any opponent.
His only victory this season came in his first start on April 22 when he held Washington to two runs and four hits over six innings for a 12-6 victory.
Obermueller didn’t get a decision in a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, when he allowed four runs and eight hits over five innings.
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
- Everything you always wanted to know about: WPA
- Gausman sharp, Trumbo hits 40th homer, Orioles blank Yankees
- Arenado homers among 4 hits to power Rockies past
- Rangers top Indians 2-1 to take 3 of 4 in series
- Giants hit 4 homers to back Bumgarner and beat Braves 13-4
- 6 DPs help Perdomo and Padres beat Marlins 3-1