Nationals back Zimmerman in 4-1 win over Brewers
MILWAUKEE Jordan Zimmermann's family and friends made the short trip from his hometown of Auburndale, Wis., and did what most fans do before games at Miller Park.
"They were out in the parking lot tailgating since 3 o'clock today, so I'm sure they're all feeling pretty good right now," Zimmermann said.
That's because the Nationals right-hander pitched his first game against Milwaukee, riding three Washington home runs to a 4-1 victory over the Brewers on Saturday night.
"It was definitely awesome," said Zimmermann, who once pitched a Legion all-star game at Miller Park. "A dream come true to pitch in front of my family and friends, and everyone who came out to watch. I'm just glad I gave them a good showing. . I didn't want to go out there and have a terrible outing. I thought I threw the ball well and got some quick outs. They've got a pretty good lineup and I was able to do pretty well."
Zimmermann (8-6) struck out six and gave up five hits in six innings. The right-hander, who also played at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has not allowed more than one earned run in each of his last seven starts.
Afterward, Washington manager Davey Johnson was asked if he noticed any nervousness or changes in Zimmermann's demeanor.
"Nope. He's always the same," Johnson said. "He's got great composure out there. He was throwing the heck out of the ball from the get-go."
Drew Storen and Sean Burnett each threw an inning of relief and Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth for his 19th save.
Washington center fielder Bryce Harper was a late scratch because of a stomach virus and was replaced by Corey Brown.
Brown led off the fourth by homering to left field, his first career hit giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead. It was the start of a six-hit inning off Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf (3-7).
With one out, Michael Morse singled and took second on a balk, but was easily thrown out at home by right fielder Norichika Aoki on Adam LaRoche's single. The next batter, Tyler Moore, hit his sixth homer to left for a 3-0 lead.
"It was one of those games where Zimmermann was on," Wolf said. "I would have had to have thrown a shutout (to give the team a chance to win). Zimmermann is probably the most underrated pitcher. He has great numbers. I would have had to be near perfect just to get a no-decision."
Milwaukee's run came in the fifth on Rickie Weeks' 11th homer of the season.
Wolf gave up four earned runs on nine hits in seven innings, as the Brewers lost for the eighth time in nine games.
"It's a lack of the whole team getting together offensively and defensively," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "When you are not consistent in those two parts for a long time, it is hard to get on that winning streak. Sometimes we're pitching well and we are not scoring runs."
NOTES: Johnson, who is now 100-83 with Washington, said Harper will "more than likely" play Sunday. . Brown was 0 for 10 entering the game. He was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Monday and played in his 11th game for the Nationals in the last two years. . Milwaukee backup catcher George Kottaras, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, could be traded to Oakland as soon as Sunday. Despite a rumor a deal was finalized Saturday afternoon, Brewers' general manager Doug Melvin said before the game that "nothing is finalized." . Weeks is 9 for 14 (.642) in his last 14 at-bats. . The Brewers are 4-11 against the NL East. . Johnson indicated infielder Chad Tracy might return Tuesday. He's been on the disabled list with a right groin tear since late May.