Zimmermann Defeats Red Sox, Smoltz
John Smoltz joined the Boston Red Sox in the hope of a reinvention. He has been a starter, a closer and a starter again. He has learned to throw sidearm. And in this latest incarnation, he was looking for a fresh start with a new team.
But the honeymoon did not last long in his first start with Boston. The Washington Nationals blitzed Smoltz and won, 9-3, last night before 41,985, the third attendance record in as many nights at Nationals Park.
Washington (21-49) provided a harsh welcome, battering Smoltz with a four-run first inning. In 92 pitches over five innings last night, Smoltz allowed five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. Jordan Zimmermann, pitched fearlessly against the imposing Red Sox (44-28).
"He's got good stuff," Dustin Pedroia, Boston's second baseman, said of Zimmermann. "He's got the stuff of a No. 1. He's going to be good for a long time. He's not afraid. He gets after it."
By the end of the night, Zimmermann (3-3) had deservingly captured some attention. He relied on his fastball to speed past the Red Sox batters, allowing one run and five hits with six strikeouts and one walk over seven innings.
"He was tremendous," Manager Manny Acta said. "He was outstanding. He attacked those guys with his fastball, and he was able to get the best of them."
Also, after the game, Acta said that Nick Johnson would be evaluated tomorrow before the team's trip to Baltimore to face the Orioles. Johnson exited the game after the first inning with a left shin contusion he suffered after being hit by Smoltz.
Other notable items from tonight's game:
The Nationals received production from the bottom of their order. Willie Harris continued to perform, blasting a two-run homer in the seventh inning. He finished 3 for 4. And catcher Josh Bard also continued to hit well, finishing 3 for 4 with two RBI.
And it will not really show up on a box score anywhere, but Ryan Zimmerman had a fantastic night in the field. This note, unfortunately, did not make it into my game story because of space concenrs.
But that did not mean it was not impressive. Zimmerman has made his share of throwing errors this season, but performances like tonight remind you of just how smoothly he fields when is on. Not looking at my scorebook, I can think of a few marvelous plays, including the no-look heave to make an out at second in the third inning and the leaping F5 put out in the fourth.
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