With new life, Zimmermann gets win for Nationals

Righty allows first-inning homer, then shuts down Giants after DC rally

With new life, Zimmermann gets win for Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Maybe Saturday was the start of a new winning streak for the Nationals. A day after watching their 10-game winning streak come to an end, the Nationals came back and downed the Giants, 6-2, at Nationals Park.

Jordan Zimmermann (9-5) started for Washington and got off to a slow start in the first inning. After Angel Pagan led off with a double, Hunter Pence drilled an 0-2 pitch over the center-field bleachers to give San Francisco a 2-0 lead. It was amazing that Pence could even hit that ball out of the park. The pitch was neck-high and outside.

"There is only one guy that is going to hit that pitch and that's [Pence]. I threw it right where I wanted it -- 0-2 -- up and by his shoulders. It beats me how he hit it that far." Zimmermann said.

Manager Matt Williams said he had never seen a home run hit like that before.

"That's hard to do and to get on top enough to drive it," Williams said. "He takes the head of the bat to the baseball. He can hit it anywhere within the ballpark [or] hit it out of the ballpark. I've never seen anything like that."

But Washington immediately tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the inning off right-hander Tim Lincecum, who has had problems beating the Nats ever since he entered the league in 2007. He had a 6.08 ERA against Washington entering the game and the problems continued. He lasted 2 2/3 innings, which was the second-shortest outing of his career.

After Denard Span led off with a triple and Anthony Rendon followed with a walk, Jayson Werth singled to right field, scoring Span. Adam LaRoche was next and he hit into a double play, but Rendon scored on the play to make it a 2-2 game.

"The Giants scored 10 runs last night and to jump out 2-0, I think it was real important to bounce back with two runs of our own," Span said.

It was all Washington after that as the team added three more runs against Lincecum in the second inning. Werth highlighted the scoring with an RBI single, which made it a 5-2 game.

"I think it was a really good approach today -- middle of the diamond. Jayson had a couple of perfect base hits with guys in scoring position," Williams said. "He didn't try to do too much."

The Nationals scored their last run of the game off Lincecum in the third inning when Asdrubal Cabrera hit his second home run as a member of the Nationals, a solo shot over the left-center-field wall.

"My mechanics haven't been repeating themselves," Lincecum said. "And maybe I've been overdoing it, trying to think about what I need to do, instead of letting my body be athletic. ... I just didn't do it out there today."

Giants reliever Yusmeiro Petit replaced Lincecum in the third and stopped the bleeding, holding the Nationals scoreless for 4 1/3 innings.

Zimmermann settled down after the first inning and pitched eight innings, allowing the two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts. The Giants had other chances to score more than the two runs off Zimmermann. In the fourth inning, San Francisco had runners on first and second with no outs, but Michael Morse struck out and Joe Panik hit into a double play to end the threat.

Two innings later, San Francisco had runners at the corners with two outs, but Morse struck out for the second time to end the threat.

"I had a good fastball. I was locating in and out. The slider was there. I mixed a curveball the second and third time through the lineup," Zimmermann said. "I started throwing more curveballs. The last two innings, I mixed in a few changeups and got some ground balls. Overall, [catcher] Willie [Ramos] and I were on the same page and the defense played great."

Williams said it was important to bounce back and win a game after the 10-game winning streak was broken Friday.

"It's important to go out and compete and play well every day," Williams said. "It would be easy for a team to say, 'Oh, well, here we go after the top of the first.' But they answered and that says something about those guys. We play hard every day."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com 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.