Zimmermann's one-hitter beats the Reds

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann is a mild-mannered man from Wisconsin who doesn't say a lot. On Friday night he certainly let his pitching speak for itself.

He allowed just one hit while pitching a complete game as the Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 before an announced crowd of 32,995.

The right-hander threw just 91 pitches and had just one walk with four strikeouts. It was the second one-hitter in a row for the Nationals, something a Washington team had not done since the Senators pulled it off back in 1917 against the White Sox.

It was also the first time the Reds had been the victims of back-to-back one-hitters since July of 1900.

"I felt great," Zimmermann said. "That was the best I have felt in a long time. I had a really good slider tonight and a fastball to go with it. We knew they swung early. If you throw a first-pitch strike and make quality pitches ... let them get themselves out and let the defense work."

One of the Reds' best chances of getting Zimmermann out of the game came in the seventh when Brandon Phillips hit a grounder that bounced off the pitcher and went to shortstop Ian Desmond, who threw out Phillips.

Zimmermann (4-1) rubbed under his left forearm (non-throwing arm) for a few seconds, but stayed in the game after he was checked briefly by the athletic training staff and others.

"A courtesy visit," said Washington manager Davey Johnson, with a smile.

But there was nothing courteous about the way Zimmermann treated Reds hitters. And there was no way he was coming out of this game.

Johnson said that Zimmermann did not say much in the dugout during the game - then again that is standard when he throws.

"That was sweet," Johnson said. "That is the best pitched game I have seen since I have been here. He never had any problem at all. He earned every right to go all the way. It was fun to see. He made good pitches all night. He used his curveball, which has been his third pitch. It was a heck of a ballgame. I was impressed all of the way through."

The Reds (13-11) fell to 1-7 on the road as starter Homer Bailey (1-2) was the hard-luck loser. Bailey gave up only one run and five hits in seven innings and threw just 89 pitches, 64 for strikes.

"You know, on days like this all you can really do is tip to your cap to Jordan. He pitched a great game," Bailey said.

"We didn't find any holes. We've got to keep swinging," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He was good tonight, but we didn't find any holes."

Washington (12-11) won its second game in a row in the four-game series.

Zimmermann now has an ERA of 2.00, and the only hit he allowed Friday was a single by Xavier Paul in the third.

The Reds had just one hit, a homer by Joey Votto, in an 8-1 loss to the Nationals on Thursday.

The last Major League team to get fewer than two hits in two games in a row was the Cubs, on Sept. 14-15, 2008, against the Astros.

"It is incredible," Bryce Harper said of back-to-back one-hitters. "Every time (Zimmermann) goes out there he is a competitor."

Zimmermann got a standing ovation when he came to bat in the last of the eighth and even a small round of applause after he fanned trying to put down a sacrifice bunt.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the fourth against Bailey as cleanup hitter Jayson Werth singled with one out to score Harper, who had tripled down the right-field line on a 3-2 pitch off Bailey for his 14th extra-base hit of the year.

NOTES: Baker said he has not made a decision about whether to activate lefty reliever Sean Marshall, who went on the disabled list April 10 with tendinitis in his left shoulder. He made a rehab appearance Wednesday for Triple-A Louisville and allowed no runs in one inning versus Gwinnett. He was eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday. "No, not really," said Baker, when asked if he had made a decision. "We will talk about it." ... Steve Lombardozzi got the start for the second game in a row at third base and was hitting second in the order for the Nationals. Rookie Anthony Rendon had started the past four games at third for Washington after Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury .... Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, on the DL since April 14 with a left hamstring strain, made his first rehab appearance for Double-A Harrisburg on Friday at the Bowie (Md.) Baysox, who play about 20 miles about from Nationals Park ... Baker said pitcher Johnny Cueto, on the DL since April 15 (right lat muscle), is making progress. "He is working hard. He is probably in better shape now than when he went on the DL," Baker said of Cueto, who is eligible to come off the DL on Monday.
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