Zimmermann throws six scoreless, Nationals beat Rockies

Associated Press
7/10/2011 4:48:17 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Jordan Zimmermann took a shutout into the seventh inning while Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel provided the offence as the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 2-0 on Sunday to head into the all-star break with a .500 record for the first time since 2005.

This amounted to a rout for the Nationals, whose previous 10 victories had come by either one run or in extra innings. They ended a three-game losing streak, too -- and each of those defeats were by a single run.

Zimmermann (6-7) went 6 1-3 innings, allowing four singles. He also struck out six and didn't walk anyone, continuing his impressive return from reconstructive elbow surgery.

He was nearly matched by Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin (8-7), who gave up one run and four hits in seven innings.

Bernadina hit a broken-bat RBI single in the sixth, while Ankiel hit his third homer of the season, off reliever Matt Reynolds in the eighth.

Nationals closer Drew Storen worked around a two-out double to earn his 23rd save in 26 chances.

This was the third time in Zimmermann's last six starts that he didn't allow a run. He also has pitched at least six innings in 13 consecutive outings.

It probably did not hurt this time around that Rockies manager Jim Tracy held three starting position players out of the lineup so they'd get an extended rest because of the midseason break that begins Monday: Carlos Gonzalez, who recently missed four games with a bruised right wrist; Ty Wigginton and Chris Iannetta.

"We're obviously very hopeful that we'll be ready to completely rock 'n' roll by next Thursday," Tracy said, referring to Colorado's next game.

While the Nationals are 46-46, the Rockies fell to 43-48; they were above .500 at this point of each of the last two seasons.

Washington was 52-36 at the all-star break in 2005, the team's first year in the nation's capital after moving from Montreal, but finished that season 81-81.

On Sunday, neither team got a runner as far as second base -- let alone home -- until the bottom of the sixth inning.

Zimmermann allowed singles to Todd Helton in the first and seventh, Ian Stewart in the fifth, and Chacin in the sixth.

Chacin was even better for stretches. He retired Washington's first 11 batters, until Ryan Zimmerman bounced a single through the left side of the infield with two outs in the fourth inning.

The Nationals didn't have a second baserunner until the sixth, when Ian Desmond led off with an infield single. Zimmermann sacrificed him to second with a bunt, and Bernadina flared a hit to right to make it 1-0.

Helton led off the seventh with a blooper that ticked off the glove of sliding left-fielder Laynce Nix, and after Troy Tulowitzki popped out, Zimmermann was done. On came Ryan Mattheus, who got two quick outs to end the inning.

Not until the eighth, with all-star Tyler Clippard on the mound, did the Rockies put a runner on second base. Stewart singled, and pinch-hitter Wigginton walked, before Clippard struck out pinch-hitter Jason Giambi looking, then got Mark Ellis to fly out.

Notes: Rockies 3B Stewart made a nice catch on Wilson Ramos' foul pop leading off the third, leaning over -- and nearly tumbling over -- the railing in front of the visitors' dugout. ... Nationals RHP Clippard said Rockies SS Tulowitzki offered to give him a lift on a plane to Arizona for the Midsummer Classic. ... Gonzalez came in to play centre field as part of a double switch in the eighth inning.

Jordan Zimmerman (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)


(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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