Zimmermann, Nats get back on track in Miami
Righty strong for seven; Moore, Leon each homer, drive in two runs
MIAMI -- Washington's clubhouse resembled a rave -- complete with strobe lights, smoke machines and Lil' Jon's latest single -- following Monday night's 9-2 victory over Miami at Marlins Park.
It was quite the change in atmosphere from this past weekend, when the National League East rival Braves earned the sweep.
"That was a tough weekend, but they came out today, they responded, they played hard," manager Matt Williams said. "That's a good thing."
The Nationals broke out for a season-high 16 hits and tied a club record with 11 for extra bases. Their three triples also tied a record dating back to 2005. All but left fielder Kevin Frandsen collected a hit. Six players recorded at least two.
Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann turned in the rotation's first quality start since Thursday as Washington dropped Miami for the 13th time in their last 15 games.
"It was a fun night," said first baseman Tyler Moore, who went 3-for-5. "We needed that after three tough losses on the road. We just tried to turn the page and let that go, starting a new day today. Obviously, it helped out. We went out there and swung the bats."
Zimmermann (1-0) pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked one. He also went 2-for-3, with two singles and a sacrifice bunt, at the plate.
Like Washington's performance over the weekend, Zimmermann's appearance contrasted from his previous start last Wednesday at Nationals Park. The righty tossed the shortest outing of his career by lasting just 1 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs on seven hits and left with his team trailing, 5-0, to Miami.
"It was a lot better today," said Zimmermann, who improved to 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA against the Marlins. "I was getting ahead with the fastball, and when I'm able to get ahead, I can throw everything else when I want, where I want. When I fall behind, that's when I run into trouble.
Washington put together a two-out rally in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead off left-hander Brad Hand (0-1).
Jayson Werth connected on the sixth pitch of his at-bat, and the ball bounced off the padding above the out-of-town scoreboard in left-center field. Williams asked the umpires to review the play. After a one-minute, 50-second delay, the play was confirmed as a double. Bryce Harper drove him in with a triple to right-center four pitches later.
The Nationals extended their lead to 4-0 with three runs on four hits in the second.
Moore led off the frame by sending a 2-0 pitch to right for his first homer. Danny Espinosa doubled to left, and Sandy Leon singled sharply to right. With runners at the corners, Zimmermann put down a sacrifice bunt. Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run double to left.
Miami picked up consecutive hits off Zimmermann in the bottom half to score a run. Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right and came home on Reed Johnson's single down the third-base line.
Espinosa got the Nationals that run back with an RBI triple in the third, driving in Ian Desmond, who led off with a single up the middle. It would be Hand's last inning of work.
"I was leaving too many balls up in the zone -- that's what hurt me," said Hand, who surrendered five runs on eight hits over three frames. "This is a game of adjustments. I'm sure they made adjustments. I made some good pitches that they put good swings on."
Garrett Jones knocked a 1-2 pitch off Zimmermann to right for his second homer of the season in the sixth, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
Long reliever Kevin Slowey kept the Nationals off the scoreboard until a four-run seventh, which included Leon's first career home run, a two-out, two-run blast to right. Moore and Rendon each plated a run to cap the scoring.
"I think everybody put that behind us yesterday," said Harper, who is 13-for-25 in his last seven games. "It's part of the game. Going into today -- win ballgames, go into the series and try to do the best you can and win the series and get back home."