Washington Nationals pitchers have turned in their best three-game stretch of the season. To keep it going, manager Matt Williams now gets to give the ball to the man who has been his best pitcher this month.
Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound Tuesday night in Milwaukee looking for some run support against the Brewers as the Nationals try for a fourth straight win.
After Monday's 3-0 series-opening victory, Washington (40-35) has surrendered just one run in its last three games while holding opponents to a .132 batting average. The bullpen has strung together 7 2-3 perfect innings in those contests after allowing at least one run in seven straight games.
Zimmermann (5-4, 2.95 ERA) is 2-2 with a 0.84 ERA and .153 opponent batting average in his four June outings.
He has lost consecutive starts in which he's been given zero runs of support. The latest was Thursday's 3-0 loss to Atlanta as he surrendered two runs in seven innings.
"I got to keep doing my job. Go out there and keep throwing strikes and keep going deep in the game," Zimmermann said. "I know later on in the season, I'm going to have a bad start someplace down the road and these guys are going to pick me up and score a bunch of runs. That's just the way baseball is."
The right-hander has had nothing but success against the Brewers, compiling a 4-0 record in as many starts with a 2.19 ERA. In two starts at Miller Park, he's allowed one run in 12 innings.
Rickie Weeks is 5 for 9 with a home run off Zimmermann while Mark Reynolds is 4 for 9 with a pair of homers. Carlos Gomez is 0 for 10 with six strikeouts.
The Brewers (47-31) will counter with Yovani Gallardo, who has been about as strong as Zimmermann in his last three starts, going 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA. Gallardo (5-4, 3.34) earned the win in Thursday's 4-1 victory in Arizona while yielding a run and five hits in seven innings.
"I've been feeling good," Gallardo told MLB's official website. "I've been throwing the ball pretty well and just keeping the ball down and locating it. It all starts with that."
He's struggled greatly against Washington, though, going 3-3 with a 6.15 ERA. Adam LaRoche is batting .346 with two home runs and three doubles in 26 at-bats against Gallardo while Denard Span is 1 for 16.
Milwaukee had won four straight prior to being held to three hits in Monday's defeat.
Gomez had his career-best 18-game hitting streak snapped with a 0-for-4 night as his career average against Washington dipped to .187, his worst against any NL club. He had reached base in 35 straight games and thought better of laying down a bunt in his final at-bat to keep the streaks intact.
"You know, I'm going to defend (the streaks) like a man. Just be me and enjoy the game. I had the opportunity to drop a bunt but I wasn't going to do it," Gomez said. "The last at-bat made me feel better for tomorrow."
LaRoche, meanwhile, went 2 for 3 with a three-run home run. He's 7 for his last 15 and has homered in three straight games at Miller Park.
Jayson Werth collected three hits and is 14 for 20 in his last six games in Milwaukee.
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