THE RESULT:  The Philadelphia Phillies rode three home-park aided home runs to defeat Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals 5-2 before 45,222 at Citizen's Bank Park.

In his fifth start returning from Tommy John surgery, Zimmermann gave up nine hits in his three inning of work.  His velocity was the best it's been this season, but he had no bite on any of this breaking balls and suffered the consequences. 

It didn't help that the three homers he gave up were all shorter than several fly balls to center that were caught for outs.

Zimmermann (L, 0-2, 6.75) ended up allowing five runs -- all earned -- on nine hits and just one walk, striking out three.

"It's a process he's going through," Manager Jim Riggleman explained after the game.

He's right.  Tommy John survivors often have their velocity back within 12 months, it's the control and command of breaking pitches that takes a while to return.  When the medical prognosis describes a 12-18 month rehab for ligament replacement surgery, the doctors aren't just talking about a return to the mound competitively.

It's good to Zimmermann out on the mound at all in 2010.  Hopefully by spring training he'll be fully recovered and he'll have his control and command back for good, as he did in his Aug. 31 start against Florida, when he struck out nine in a one-hit, six inning performance.

THE GOOD:  Michael Morse went 2-for-3 with an RBI.  Four guys in the bullpen pitched five shutout innings.

THE BAD:  Adam Dunn went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, leaving three men on base.  In September, Dunn is hitting .222/.327/.400 with just two home runs and four extra base hits total.  Last September, Dunn hit .212/.322/.333.

THE UGLY:  Once again, the Nats scored first in this one, courtesy of a Danny Espinosa single and Ian Desmond triple in the first inning off Kyle Kendrick (W, 10-9, 4.78).  Kendrick then hit Zimmerman, giving the Nats men at first and third with no outs, a chance to really get into the Phillies early. 

They didn't score again.  Dunn and Bernadina struck out.  Morse walked to load the bases, and Wilson Ramos grounded out to end the inning.

THE STATS:  6 Ks, 4 BBs, 2-for-9 with RISP, 9 LOB, 1 GIDP

NEXT GAME:  Today at 1:35 pm.  Yunesky Maya (0-2, 6.55) looks for his first big league win against Joe Blanton (7-6, 5.00).