WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman has spent a lot of time on the top step of the home dugout at Nationals Park lately. He keeps putting himself atop the local record books, and the fans keep summoning him to that top step for a curtain call.He received two curtain calls during
WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman has spent a lot of time on the top step of the home dugout at Nationals Park lately. He keeps putting himself atop the local record books, and the fans keep summoning him to that top step for a curtain call.
He received two curtain calls during Wednesday's 10-1 victory over the Marlins. The first one came after he launched a solo home run off left-hander Adam Conley for the 906th RBI of his career, setting a new franchise record for the Nationals/Expos. Then, he was summoned by the the 25,951 fans at Nationals Park for a second curtain call in the seventh inning after his second homer of the night. A slightly reluctant Zimmerman, whose personality has always been a bit reserved and understated, went back to the top step to acknowledge the crowd.
"Obviously, I have a special connection with all the people here," said Zimmerman, who was the first Draft pick in Nationals history in 2005. "We've kind of grown up together, so anytime I get to do that with them, it's fun."
Zimmerman finished the night 4-for-4 with five RBIs and four runs scored while finishing a triple shy of the cycle. The first baseman, who's up to 26 homers on the season, claimed the franchise's top RBI spot from former Expo Tim Wallach, who was in the visitors' dugout, serving as the Marlins' bench coach.
This was the latest in a number of accolades Zimmerman has received lately. He broke the franchise home run record on July 17, passing Vladimir Guerrero's mark at 235 career homers. On July 30, his 238th career homer moved him past Frank Howard for the most in D.C. baseball history. Each moment happened at home, giving Zimmerman the chance to share the moment with Nationals fans.
And his performance Wednesday was a big one. Zimmerman added an RBI double in the third inning, an RBI single in the fifth and that two-run homer in the seventh to pad Washington's lead. Perhaps his performance in this game will help him break out of a slump. The All-Star entered Wednesday with a second-half slash line of .195/.250/.429, with five home runs and a .679 OPS, quelling the excitement after his fast start to the season.
"Everybody told me he's streaky," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said prior to Wednesday's game. "If the guy's streaky, he's streaky. I've also told you guys that run producers do about 50 percent of their run production in about a third of the time. That means two great months. So why would it be out of the question that you'd have a bad month? That tells me that there's great times ahead for Zim if he can just not think about it."
Whether this game will be the start of another hot streak for Zimmerman remains to be seen. He's at least happy his overall numbers are ahead of where they normally are. His 26 home runs already match the second-most he's hit in a season (he had 33 in 2009). And while Zimmerman has been working to make adjustments at the plate, he said he can never really feel when hot streaks are coming.
"It's one of those things where you struggle for a while and you really don't know what happens; something just happens," he said. "It's one game, but it's definitely better than what's been going on over the last couple weeks. So hopefully I'll carry it over into tomorrow and keep it going."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.