Nationals Vault: Zim's defensive prowess shines early

March 8th, 2022 is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 21, 2006: Zimmerman wows on defense
Before he won a Gold Glove Award in 2009, Ryan Zimmerman showcased his defensive potential at third base early on in his career. In this highlight from his first full season in '06, Zimmerman made a head-turning over-the-shoulder diving catch in shallow left field to save a run for John Patterson. The hustle play contributed to the Nationals' 7-3 win over the Braves.

April 5, 2006: Zimmerman's first career HR
Continuing to look back on firsts in Ryan Zimmerman's storied career, here's when Mr. National went yard for the first time on April 5 at Shea Stadium. Trailing the Mets in the ninth inning, Zimmerman belted a game-tying solo blast off Billy Wagner into deep left field. The inaugural dinger sparked a 9-5 comeback victory in extra innings.

Sept. 2, 2005: No. 1 out of 1,846 for Zimmerman
One day after making his Major League debut, Ryan Zimmerman checked off a career milestone when he collected his first big league hit, a line-drive double into left-center off Philadelphia's Vicente Padilla. Zimmerman received a standing ovation for the first of 1,846 career hits.

April 6, 2005: Guillen belts key go-ahead homer
With the Nationals trailing 3-2 in the top of the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park, Jose Guillen made the most of having Jose Vidro on first base when he stepped up to the plate against Phillies reliever Tim Worrell. Guillen lifted a two-run homer over the right-center-field fence to give the Nats a 4-3 lead that they built upon for a 7-3 victory -- their first win since relocating to Washington, D.C.

April 26, 2006: Rauch strikes out four Reds in one inning
If there are only three outs in an inning, how did reliever Jon Rauch record four strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth against the Reds? Rauch began the frame by retiring David Ross swinging, followed by Bronson Arroyo looking. He was then credited for fanning Felipe Lopez, but Lopez reached first base on a wild pitch. Rauch ended the inning by striking out Adam Dunn in the next at-bat.

April 21, 2007: Chico's pitch goes into stands
Matt Chico's pitch to Josh Willingham took a detour in Dolphin Stadium when it ended up in the stands behind the Marlins' dugout, prompting the broadcaster to say, "In unison, just a little outside." Although he caught Willingham swinging to end the at-bat, Chico allowed a run later in the game when he threw another wild pitch to Aníbal Sánchez.

March 30, 2008: First run scored at Nats Park
In the inaugural game at Nationals Park, Nick Johnson sent an RBI double to right field off Tim Hudson, driving in Cristian Guzmán and plating the Nats' first run in the stadium. Washington went on to earn a 3-2 victory over Atlanta in front of 39,389 fans at the new ballpark.

April 6, 2005: Nats pick up first 'W' since relocation
Led by Brad Wilkerson hitting for the cycle, the Nationals earned their first win since relocating to Washington, D.C., with a 7-3 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Zach Day tossed 5 2/3 innings in the start, and Joey Eischen got the 'W' out of the bullpen. The Nats outhit the Phillies, 16-6, including four hits from Vinny Castilla and a homer from José Guillén.

April 14, 2005: Castilla goes yard in D.C. opener
Vinny Castilla had a hot bat in the Nationals' inaugural home opener at RFK Stadium. After hitting a double and a triple in the second and fourth innings, Castilla belted a fastball into deep left field in the sixth off the D-backs' Javier Vazquez for the Nats' first dinger in Washington, D.C. Castilla finished the game with four RBIs and a single shy of the cycle in the 5-3 victory over Arizona.

April 4, 2005: Hernández records Nationals' first K
Liván Hernández got the nod against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day 2005, the Nationals' first season since relocating from Montreal. He allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins in the first at-bat, then got Placido Polanco to line out to center field. Hernández then delivered back-to-back curveballs to catch Bobby Abreu swinging for the first strikeout in Nats team history. He went on to fan four over 4 2/3 frames in Washington's 8-4 loss.