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Zimm extends Nats starters' scoreless streak

WASHINGTON -- Jordan Zimmermann's eight scoreless innings in Wednesday night's 2-1 win over the Braves added to the impressive tally that Nationals starters have accumulated since Friday night.

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Beginning with Joe Ross' third inning Friday night and continuing through Zimmermann's gem, Nationals starters have thrown 34 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, a Nationals team record.

"You see the guy before you go up there and put up zeros, and you don't want to be the guy that has the big bomb," Zimmermann said. "So I was trying to do my job tonight and go out there and put up zeros."

The streak, which included Max Scherzer's no-hitter Saturday, Gio Gonzalez's strong outing Sunday and Stephen Strasburg's return from the disabled list Tuesday, will continue at least one more day, when five shutout innings from Doug Fister would put the Nationals at 39 1/3, eclipsing the franchise record set by the Montreal Expos in 1981.

Wednesday, Zimmermann was locked in a quick-flying battle with Atlanta's Shelby Miller. While Miller cruised through the first six innings, allowing only one single, Zimmermann's zeros were a little more taxing.

He surrendered at least one hit in each of the first four innings and worked around multiple baserunners in two of them.

"Early on I wasn't quite right with the layoff, and after a couple innings I felt a lot better," Zimmermann said.

In his final four innings, he faced one batter above the minimum, giving up only a harmless single in the sixth inning.

"I think the curveball is the best it's been all year," he said. "That was the big pitch for me tonight. And the fastball location was there. It was good night. Pound the zone and let the guys behind me play defense."

With a one-run lead and his spot approaching in the order, Zimmermann was not surprised when he was pinch-hit for, ending his outing at 100 pitches.

"Obviously I know [Nick] Markakis is leading off, and I feel like his numbers are pretty good against me and we have one of the best closers in the game," Zimmermann said. "His role is the ninth inning so give him the ball and pinch-hit for me and try to get some more runs."

After two hits and an intentional walk, Drew Storen blew his second save of the season in the top of the ninth inning, costing Zimmermann his sixth win of the season.

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In the 11th, Ian Desmond came through with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, notching Washington's fifth consecutive victory, each of which began with an impressive pitching performance.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for
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