Zimmerman helps Nats beat Phillies 4-0

May 19, 2008 8:15:44 PM PDT
Ryan Zimmerman saved a run or two with a quick stab to stop a double down the left-field line in the first inning, charged a two-hopper barehanded to throw out the swift Shane Victorino in the fifth, then made a tough catch look routine when pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hit a foul pop-up in the seventh. And, by the way, he was on base every time the Washington Nationals scored.

With the help of his third baseman's flawless defense, Tim Redding threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings and the Nationals opened a seven-game homestand Monday night with a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Zimmerman hit one of six Nationals doubles - matching the team's season-high - on a 2-for-3 night that raised his average to .251 as he slowly but steadily emerges from an awful early season slump. Washington scored once in the first, twice in the third and once in the seventh, and shut out the Phillies for the second time this year.

The first time was April 2 - the third game of the season - when Redding threw seven innings in a 1-0 victory. Redding (6-3) didn't have his best stuff this time, but he stayed afloat by spacing the outs perfectly. The Nos. 2, 3 and 6 hitters (Victorino, Chase Utley and Geoff Jenkins) went a combined 6-for-6 over the first four innings, but Nos. 4 and 5 (Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell) didn't get a hit all night in eight at-bats.

Redding's only 1-2-3 inning came in the fifth, and he was removed after allowing a hit and a walk with one out in the seventh. Relievers Saul Rivera, Luis Ayala and Joel Hanrahan finished the job.

Brett Myers (2-5) came up with another fruitless road outing for the Phillies, although it was better than any he's had recently. He allowed eight hits and three runs with two walks and three strikeouts over six innings, an improvement for a pitcher who entered the game with an 0-3 record and an 8.18 ERA away from Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies, opening a seven-game road trip, stranded nine men on base to lose their third straight.

Zimmerman was the player to follow all game long. He likely saved two runs when he threw out Burrell on the hard-hit grounder with two outs and men on first and second in the first inning. Zimmerman doubled in the bottom half of the inning, advancing Cristian Guzman to third to set up Dmitri Young's sacrifice fly that accounted for the game's first run. Guzman was able to score after center fielder Victorino, apparently thinking there wouldn't be a play at the plate, threw the ball to second base.

Zimmerman walked in the third to load the bases, leading to Lastings Milledge's opposite-field, two-run double that made the score 3-0.

After the barehanded play on Victorino in the fifth and the nice catch off Dobbs' pop-up in the seventh, Zimmerman looped a single to right in the bottom of the seventh, advancing Guzman to third with none out. Young followed by hitting into a double play, but that was enough to score Guzman for another insurance run.

Notes: Nationals LHP Matt Chico will start Wednesday in place of RHP Shawn Hill, who had a cortisone shot in his right elbow on Saturday. ... Young, who has spent much of the season on the DL with a sprained back, played first base for the first time this season. He was subbed for a defensive replacement in the eighth inning. ... Nationals OF Austin Kearns missed his second straight game with a sore elbow. ... Utley, Howard and Burrell have more home runs (34) than the entire Nationals team (31).