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Posted at 11:49 PM ET, 04/18/2012

Jordan Zimmermann can deal with low run support if Nationals win

Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann delivered a third consecutive game in which he allowed but a lone run through seven innings, and while his personal hard luck continued, he was more than content with final outcome that left the Washington Nationals winners by yet another razor-thin margin, 3-2.

Zimmermann kept Houston at bay by yielding four hits and walking none. He added three strikeouts on a night in which Manager Davey Johnson said he could have gone the distance had he received ample run support.

But that’s been the story of Zimmermann’s season and in fact much of his career. This season, he is 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery three years ago, Zimmermann has gotten one or zero runs behind him in 16 of 36 starts.

“I was worried he was going to have another great game and get an L,” Johnson said. “He hasn’t been getting hardly any [run support] at all, but he keeps pitching like that, he’s going to get a whole bunch of wins.”

First baseman Adam LaRoche flips the ball to pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who helps himself a little bit by getting Travis Buck out in the third inning. (Jonathan Newton - The Washington Post)
Zimmermann did not allow a ball out of the infield until the fifth inning, when third baseman Chris Johnson flew out to right. Two batters later, Marwin Gonzalez doubled with two out, but Zimmermann struck out pitcher Lucas Harrell.

Lifted for pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi in the home half of the seventh, Zimmermann set down the side in order over his final two innings before giving way to reliever Ryan Mattheus.

“I just try to go out there and battle and keep the team in the game as long as I possibly can,” Zimmermann said. “Fortunately, I was able to go seven innings again tonight, and the bats came around late. Better late than never, I guess.”

The Nationals at least got Zimmermann a no-decision by loading the bases with no outs in the eighth and going ahead for good on Wilson Ramos’s sacrifice fly that scored Adam LaRoche.

Another important at-bat came when Jayson Werth drew a walk after the count stood at 2-2. That allowed Danny Espinosa to score the tying run.

“It’s one of those things really,” Werth said of the lack of run support for Zimmermann. “The important thing is we got the win. Jordan pitched a great game again. For us to win that game right there, I think that was just a testament to this team and how hard we play.”

By  |  11:49 PM ET, 04/18/2012

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