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Posted at 01:03 PM ET, 03/07/2012

Nationals-Cardinals live blog: Jordan Zimmermann’s first start


(Jonathan Newton - WASHINGTON POST)

3:56, END: It ends in a draw. The press box rejoices. Nats 3, Cards 3. Penalty kicks when they meet in Jupiter.

3:52, BOT 9: Tie ballgame. Tyler Moore singled, and mammoth backup catcher Carlos Maldonao smoked an opposite-field home run off Lance Lynn to make it 3-3.

3:45, MID 9: Drew Storen faced the minimum thanks to an inning-ending double play. The Nats trail 3-1, and they’re being out-hit 13-3.

3:12, BOT 7: Just got done talking with Jordan Zimmermann. He felt good about his slider and threw just one changeup, in the first inning. (I was wrong about that changeup to Jay in the third; Zimmermann threw the one change in the first.)

The Nats are trailing, 3-1. Brad Lidge gave up one earned run on an RBI single by Tyler Greene and one unearned run after a throwing error by Hoffpauir. The rally began with a bloop single; it doesn’t sound like Lidge got beat around. Also, Ryan Mattheus threw a scoreless inning.

2:17, TOP 5: Daniel Descalso crushed a home run off Matt Purke, who is finding the Cardinals to be stiffer competition than Georgetown. There have been a number of hard-hit balls. Purke did come back to strike out Jon Jay, though. It’s 1-1.

2:01, TOP 4: Ian Desmond left the game after his at-bat leading off the third. He did not seem to be hurt, but this would be leaving the game ealirer than usual. Jarrett Hoffpauir in at shortstop.

One more nugget: Zimmermann threw his fastball in the 90-94 mph range.

1:50, MID 3: Jordan Zimmermann is done after three scoreless innings. He slider stood out — all three of his strikeouts came when hitters flailed at the slider. Not sure about this, but it looked from here like he got Jon Jay to swing and miss at a changeup, a pitch that’s the focus of his spring training. He gave up three sinlges, walked one and hit a batter, throwing 29 of his 44 pitches for strikes.

1:34, MID 2: Zimmerman labored a bit more in the second. He walked the leadoff hitter and hit Bryan Anderson to put men on first and second with one out. On the 16th pitch of the inning, Alex Cora hit a shallow flare to left. Roger Bernadina got a great jump, made a nice running catch and fired a bullet on the run to second to double off Tyler Greene. Great play. Bernadina seems to read the ball much better in left than center. The first out came when Zimmermann struck out Cox swinging at a slider that almost hit him in the ankel. 1-0, Nats.

END 1, 1:24: Jason Michaels roped an RBI single to center with two outs, which followed a walk by Chad Tracy. Michaels has been hitting plenty of liners early in spring. It seems like he and Brett Carroll are the two favorites for that last bench spot.

BOT 1, 1:10: Zimmermann made quick work of the first inning, allowing a single up the middle by Jon Jay, but throwing just nine pitches. He pumped strikes in the bottom of the zone, same as ever. Ian Desmond made a clean play on a grounder, an encouraging sign. And then he ripped a double to lead off the bottom half of the inning.

PREGAME: Jordan Zimmermann is making his first start of the spring, the last member of the Nationals’ projected starting five to debut. He’ll face a pretty diminished Cardinals lineup that features old friends Alex Cora and Erik Komatsu, the outfielder the Nationals got from the Brewers in return for Jerry Hairston. The Nats left him vulnerable in the Rule 5 draft, and the Cardinals grabbed him.

Keep it here for updates.

By  |  01:03 PM ET, 03/07/2012

 
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