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Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 05/23/2011

A tough luck outing for Jordan Zimmermann


As Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann stood in front of his locker following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he wouldn’t take the bait as a reporter tried to get him to reveal any sort of negativity.

It was tough, he said, to watch an inncoent looking breaking ball, like the one Orioles slugger Vladi­mir Guerrero deposited into the left field bleachers of Camden Yards, ruin an afternoon in which Zimmermann threw six innings of one-hit ball.

But there were many positives to take away from a day that saw the 25-year-old mow down 13 consecutive batters at one point. The Guerrero at bat aside, he showed off command on a new version of his curveball, one that rides away from right-handed batters and is oftentimes 17 miles per hour slower than his 94-mile per hour fastball.

Perhaps most importantly, Zimmermann’s earned run average dropped 15 points to 3.98 this year and he once again proved he’s fully healthy again after reconstructive elbow surgery in 2009.

“I just try to go out there and not give up any runs and try to keep the team in the game for as long as I can,” Zimmermann said. “I thought I did a pretty good job tonight, but just that one mistake.”

That sort of mindset will come in handy as the Nationals continue to have difficulty scoring runs. Zimmermann is now just 2-5 despite allowing three runs or fewer in seven of his nine starts this year, a fact that didn’t help against Baltimore’s lineup Sunday.

“They got that American League lineup … and somebody’s gonna pop one sooner or later,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “That’s why you’ve got to score some runs, have a little margin for error.”

FROM THE POST

The Nationals recent rough stretch has put Jim Riggleman under the gun, Boz writes.

 One pitch turned Jordan Zimmermann’s start around and gave the Nationals a 2-1 loss against the Orioles.

 NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 9, Rochester 3: Chris Marrero went 3 for 4 with a home run and a walk. Michael Aubrey went 3 for 5 with a double. Collin Balester allowed no runs in three relief innings on three hits and no walks, striking out one. The Chiefs won their seventh straight.

 Harrisburg 4, Binghamton 1: Stephen King went 3 for 4 with a home run. Tanner Roark allowed one run in six innings on three hits and a walk, striking out four.

 Lynchburg 7, Potomac 6: Destin Hood went 3 for 5 with three doubles and is now hitting .287 this season. In his last ten games, Hood is hitting .450/.477/.850. Justino Cuevas went 3 for 4 with two home runs. Steven Souza went 1 for 4 with a home run, his third straight game with a homer.

 Greensboro 5, Hagerstown 2: Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 with a strikeout. He’s hitting .349. Justin Martinson went 2 for 4.

By Mark Giannotto  |  07:45 AM ET, 05/23/2011

 
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