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Zimmerman delivers big HR, flashes leather at first base

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

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.

Video: [email protected]: Zimmerman blasts a two-run homer to left

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.

Video: [email protected]: Zimmerman makes another dazzling 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.
Read More: Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman