The Washington Nationals started the second half of the season without missing a beat -- getting an excellent performance from their starter and cruising to a 5-1 win over a division foe. Jordan Zimmermann was spectacular against the Marlins on Friday night, allowing no runs on just four hits in six innings of work. Zimmermann is becoming an automatic quality start every fifth day for Davey Johnson and he had his nasty slider working against the Fish. It was the first time Zimmermann had beaten the Marlins and it evened his record on the season to 6-6.
The Nats' offense jumped on Josh Johnson, who had never lost to Washington. After an Ian Desmond RBI single in the second inning, Ryan Zimmerman pushed the lead to three with a two-run shot over the wall in left centerfield. The Nats would put together another threat against Johnson in the sixth, when he was chased. Jesus Flores made it a 5-0 game with a single to that knocked in Desmond and Adam LaRoche. The Nationals managed to get 13 hits in another impressive night at the plate.
Davey Johnson used five relievers over the final three innings to finish things off and preserve the win for Zimmermann. Henry Rodriguez was first out of the pen and he once again looked shaky. Rodriguez issued two walks and allowed Justin Ruggiano to steal two bases, setting up Miami's only run of the night. But the four-run cushion was plenty to overcome the wildness of Rodriguez, who was quickly pulled by Davey.
All-Star Gio Gonzalez will take the hill for the Nationals in second game on Saturday night. He'll be opposed by Mark Buerhle
Stay with this StoryStream throughout the weekend for more updates on the Nationals series in Miami. For more on the Nats as they start the second half of the season, visitFederal Baseball. For more on the Marlins, visit Fish Stripes. And for all your baseball news coming out of the All-Star break, visit Baseball Nation.