GAME 104: Zim Does It Again

Posted by Dave Nichols | Sunday, August 01, 2010 | , , | 0 comments »

by Anthony Amobi, Staff Writer

(Photo by Max Cook/

Throughout his tenure with the Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman has always had a flair for the dramatic.  Once again on Saturday, he proved it again.

With one out in the ninth inning, Zimmerman got himself set in batter’s box to face Philadelphia Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge. Washington had runners on first and second, and Zimmerman took a Lidge offering and crushed it, sending the ball over the center field fence for a three-run homer.

When all was said done, the Phillies walked off the field with their heads down and the Nationals frolicked at home plate, celebrating a Saturday night win, 7-5. The win for Washington was their third in a row, and their fourth in fifth games.

Before the game, much of the morning and mid-afternoon for fans, the media and the baseball world were spent wondering if slugger/first-baseman Adam Dunn would be in the lineup – much less another uniform.

As it turned out, the fretting was for naught, as Dunn was not traded before the 4:00 pm deadline.  After a busy couple of days that saw closer Matt Capps and infielder Cristian Guzman moved, there were no last-minute theatrics from General Manager Mike Rizzo.

Saturday’s game on the banks of the Anacostia brought a sellout crowd of 38,409 and it had a mix of fans of both the Phillies and Nationals. At times there was a feeling the ever-vocal, passionate Philadelphia supporters seemed a little too comfortable at Nationals Park, practically overwhelming fans of the home team.

It goes without saying that they were none too pleased out the outcome of the game.

The win for Washington as a hard fought one as they squandered an early a 3-0 lead and Philadelphia chipped at it throughout the game. Washington’s bullpen faltered in the final third of the game, but Zimmerman’s three-run shot erased a potential loss. His game-winning homer was his seventh in his big league career and the most since 2005.

Zimmerman’s big moment was setup by some key moments in the ninth inning. Mike Morse led off the inning with a single and Nyjer Morgan bunted him over.  Adam Kennedy drew a big two-out walk to bring the Nats' third baseman to the plate.  Zimmerman then stepped up as he has so many times.

In essence, Zimmerman helped wipe away reliever Drew Storen’s mistake in the top of the ninth inning. Storen (3-2, 2.61), who was on the mound in relief of Sean Burnett, allowed Carlos Ruiz to rip an RBI-single to right to break a 4-4 tie. He ended up with the win.

Meanwhile, Brad Lidge (1-1, 5.57) took the loss for the Phillies.

Ross Detwiler – who started the game for Washington – had his ups and downs on the evening. He did not factor in the decision.

Detwiler was not exactly the model of efficiency. His night was short as he went five and one-third innings, gave up only a run on five hits; however, he tossed 97 pitches in his outing, throwing 58 for strikes.

He got the job done early, but had trouble finishing off the Phillies in the fourth and fifth innings.

Meanwhile, his opponent on the mound for the Phillies, Joe Blanton, started off rocky allowing the Nationals to plate three in first inning. 

The Nationals took a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to three consecutive two-out RBI singles.
The frame started as Morgan led off with a single, and then Zimmerman followed up with a one-out single of his own. Josh Willingham drove in the first run with a two-out, RBI-single that got past a diving Raul Ibanez – Philadelphia’s left fielder – who seemingly caught the ball while sliding on the grass, but had it pop out of his glove.

They followed it up by singles by Roger Bernadina and Ivan Rodriguez that each plated in a run. Sadly, for Washington, Joe Blanton would get it together and keep them from doing much else.

Detwiler was cruising in the game until the fourth inning and then Philadelphia finally got on the scoreboard. They got a run off a Wilson Valdez RBI-single that plated Dominic Brown.

He allowed three hits in the frame, but managed to avert a rally by the Phillies with men on first and second with two outs. The rally by Philadelphia ended as Joe Blanton grounded out.

After Detwiler was pulled in the sixth inning, Riggleman summoned reliever Joel Peralta to hold Washington’s 3-1 lead. However, he gave up a solo homer to Carlos Ruiz, to pull Philadelphia within one of tying the game.

In the sixth inning, Washngton raised the score to 4-2 off an Ian Desmond sacrifice fly that plated Bernadina – who led off the frame with a double. Desmond was likely robbed of an extra-base hit as Philadelphia right fielder Domonic Brown made an incredible, acrobatic sliding catch.

The Phillies struck back in the seventh inning off reliever Tyler Clippard and tied the game at four off a two-run homer by Raul Ibanez – his 10th of the season.

On the night, offensively for Washington, Zimmerman drove in three runs. Ivan Rodriguez and Roger Bernadina each had two hits and drove in a run apiece.

Sunday’s game will have John Lannan back on the mound for Washington against Philadelphia after an extended stay with Double-A Harrisburg.