Zimmermann’s final start is Nationals’ 2-0 loss to Braves

The predominant favorite to win the National League East, Washington has sandwiched six losses in its last eight outings around an embarrassing dugout incident heading into the second contest of a three-game series with the host Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.Bryce Harper, who was on the wrong end of a chokehold by closer Jonathan Papelbon, went hitless in the Nationals’ 2-1 loss on Monday.


Rookie Williams Perez (7-6) threw six innings and the Braves’ bullpen threw three ideal innings in recording Atlanta’s first shutout since June 21.

Andrelton Simmons singled to right to start the Braves’ second, but was forced out at second on a pop to short left that Ian Desmond missed before throwing to second.

Braves: Rookie Ryan Weber (0-2, 5.91) will make his fifth career start since getting called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on September 8.

As for Roark, he went further in this game than any of his previous four starts.

Rookie Arodys Vizcaino earned his 10th save – and second in two nights – with a ideal ninth.

In his Tuesday night save against the Nationals, he gave up consecutive hits to start the ninth, then got a bunted double-play grounder – nice work by A.J. Pierzynski and 3B Daniel Castro – and a strikeout to work out of the jam.

Pierzynski opened the scoring in the fourth with a solo shot to right field. He handled everyone in the Braves’ lineup except Pierzynski, who was 3 for 3, giving up just five hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings.

It’s hard to overstate the value of a pitcher like Zimmermann to the Nationals over the last half decade. “Got behind in a few counts early in the game, but he really did a nice job, and good for him to finish that way”. The Nationals turn to Stephen Strasburg for his last start of the season.

CINCINNATI – Miguel Montero doubled home a pair of runs during Chicago’s four-run first inning, and Dan Haren pitched into the eighth following a long rain delay.

Strasburg has pitched 12 scoreless innings while striking out a combined 13 in back-to-back wins over the Braves (64-94) and went five in a 3-1 victory June 23 in his only matchup this season. 1B Freddie Freeman (wrist) started and is day to day. Atlanta hasn’t won five straight home games in one season against Washington since 2009.

NOTES: Atlanta originally had LF Adonis Garcia in its lineup but scratched him an hour before game time because of a lower back strain. He was drafted by the Nationals in 2007 and has a 70-49 career record, making at least 32 starts each of the past four seasons, including this year. He also walked for the 124th time this season, setting a single-season franchise record.


PHOENIX – Pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin singled in the winning run after Colorado reliever Brooks Brown walked the bases loaded in the 11th inning.

Zimmermann faces Braves in final start of 2015 season