Bill Ladson

Zimmerman delivers big HR, flashes leather at first base

Ex-third baseman dives to snare bunt, lays out to deny late Mets hit

Zimmerman delivers big HR, flashes leather at first base

WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman did it all on offense and defense in a 2-1 victory over the Mets on Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

It started in the bottom of the first inning, when Zimmerman swung at a 1-1 pitch from right-hander Jacob deGrom and hit the eventual game-winning homer, a two-run shot over the left-field wall to give Washington a 2-0 lead. It was the first time Zimmerman had faced deGrom.

"I really don't know how the ball comes out of his hand. I know he throws a lot of fastballs. The fastball was likely more than coming and I put a good swing on it," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman's two-run shot

An inning later, Zimmerman was able to frustrate deGrom again. With runners on first and second, one out and Washington up by a run, deGrom tried to advance the runners by bunting the ball to the right side of the field. But the ball was popped up and Zimmerman made a diving catch near home plate.

"That's what I'm supposed to do over there, too," Zimmerman said. "A lot of times, a runner on first and second, they usually bunt the ball to third base. I guess they were trying to pick on me, which I can't blame them. It's weird to bunt it that way. They usually bunt it toward third base."

In the eighth, Curtis Granderson hit a hot smash down the first-base line, but Zimmerman dove to his left and made the stop. He then threw the ball to right-hander Blake Treinen to get Granderson for the first out of the frame.

Zimmerman's fantastic play

"I'm really excited the way he is playing over there," teammate Bryce Harper said about Zimmerman. "He is a Gold Glove third baseman going over to first. Hopefully, he will get that Gold Glove over at first base."

This is the first year Zimmerman is playing first base full-time and he is already comfortable, though he said he has a lot to learn about the position.

"I feel pretty comfortable over there," he said. "I feel I can do a lot of things over there like I did at third. Obviously, I don't have to make the throw [across the diamond]. I try to get as many balls as I can and get it to the pitcher."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.