The San Diego Padres decade long dominance of the Washington Nationals franchise in San Diego came to an end on Sunday night as the Nats beat the Padres 2-0 and claimed a four game series. It is the first series win the Washington franchise has earned in San Diego since 2001.
The game remained scoreless, with both teams having ample opportunities to score, but pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Tim Stauffer stifled the offenses. It was not until the top of the ninth-inning that with the bases loaded the Nationals struck first. Brian Bixler, after taking over as pinch hitter for Matt Stairs who (finally) singled, scored on a Danny Espinosa sac fly that fell just short of a grand slam. The next batter Laynce Nix hit a single to score Alex Cora to finish off the Nationals scoring. Reliever Drew Storen came in and finished off the Padres for the afternoon with his 15th save of the season.
Zimmermann was nothing short of stupendous. The young right-hander gave up only four hits, no runs, walked only one and nailed down 10 strike outs. He also drew a walk in an at-bat. It finally seems Zimmermann is falling into a groove and visions of a Strasburg, Zimmermann rotation in 2012 is making Natstown salivate.
The Nationals move to 30-36 record and are on a three-game win streak. The Nationals will enjoy an off day Monday before taking on the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on Tuesday with the possible return of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
The Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres have worked themselves into a scoreless tie after six innings of play. The pitching in Sunday's game has been fantastic on both sides, holding off offenses from putting runs across the plate. The Nationals have left 13 men on base while the Padres are not far behind with 11.
The most recent missed opportunity for the Nationals came in the top of the sixth-inning when after Laynce Nix walked and Michael Morse singled to have two men on base with no outs. However, catcher Wilson Ramos grounded into a double play during his at-bat and Rick Ankiel grounded out to end the inning and the threat. Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer has been effective against the Nationals, but more impressive is the pitcher pitching against Stauffer's own team. Jordan Zimmermann has pitched six-innings of four hit ball, walking one and striking out seven.
After completing the second-inning the Nationals hit a franchise-record of 97.2 consecutive errorless innings.
The Washington Nationals will finish their 11-game West Coast road trip against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on Sunday afternoon and will look to win a series in San Diego for the first time since 2001 when they were known as the Montreal Expos.
The Nationals lead the current four game series two games to one. The Nationals are sending their young gun Jordan Zimmermann (4-6, 3.39 ERA) to the mound against the Padres Tim Stauffer (2-4, 3.58 ERA). Zimmermann has been experiencing a rise in his performance and looks like he is close if not ready to become the pitcher the Nationals have always hoped. He has allowed three runs or fewer in his last seven starts. In his support, the Nationals will go with a similar, unique line-up they used Saturday.
Right fielder Jayson Werth will continue to lead off while Zimmermann will bat eighth. Shortstop Alex Cora will be batting ninth. Center fielder Roger Bernadina has been taken out of the line-up due to a sore hamstring and shortstop Ian Desmond is also absent as he is getting rest for a sore thigh.