Zimmerman hits walk-off HR as Washington Nationals beat San Diego Padres

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Zimmerman hits walk-off HR as Nationals beat Padres
Ryan Zimmerman ended the suspense early in the ninth innings on Tuesday, hitting a lead off home run to end the game and lift the Washington Nationals over the San Diego Padres 6-5.
Under the sweltering heat, the Nationals’ starter Livan Hernandez gave his team a respectable performance, throwing seven innings and allowed four runs. He struck out four batters and allowed nine hits. He might have been in trouble more throughout the game but showed good composure when he needed to, with the Padres leaving eight batters on base throughout the game. He was pulled in the seventh innings after letting Alex Gonzalez and Scott Hairston on base, both of whom would score.
On the flip-side, Clayton Richard put up a middling performance by his standards, allowing five runs over six innings and striking out six batters to make his ERA rise to an even 3.00 on the year. But it was Linus Gregerson who got the loss when he failed to record a single out and let in Zimmerman’s shot to lose the game. Afterwards, he was laconic about this pitch that sent the Padres packing.
“Right pitch, bad execution,” Gregerson said. He’d meant to put it outside, but instead it was almost right over the plate, and Zimmerman made no errors with it. Ian Desmond also homered earlier in the game, giving the Nationals another three home-run game, their fourth of the season.

Zimmerman hitting his stride again
Zimmerman’s game-winning home run was his second of the game, with the first coming in the fourth innings. After struggling throughout June, going .245 with just eight RBIs, Zimmerman looks to be coming into All-Star form just ahead of the break, and may be making his case to the internet voters to place him on the team. The last spot is currently up for grabs, and while Zimmerman’s June play may have hurt his chances,  his recent resurgence is giving him a chance.
“I’ve been working hard the last week or so and I’ve been struggling the last three weeks, four weeks, however many weeks it is,” said Zimmerman. “It’s frustrating. Nobody wants to do that. … It’s finally starting to get back to where I want to be.”
But he’s been looking good as of late, and his team mates are fully behind him, it seems, in his bid to make the NL All-Star side.
“We all know Zim’s an All-Star. He’s playing like an All-Star, he’s always played like an All-Star. We all are just hoping that he gets in,” said Michael Morse.
And it’s not just his team mates. Even Bud Black, the manager of the San Diego Padres, said he never doubted Zimmerman’s talent and his worthiness to make the team.
“He’s a very good player—no doubt. I voted for him for the All-Star Game — that’s what I think of Zimmerman,” Black said. It seems Black though won’t get any satisfaction in being right about him, though.
Nationals give home fans a win
The Nationals have had a disappointing run since having a very strong April and early May, with a tough June period. But with Zimmerman beginning to pick his bat up again, they may have at least a chance to claw towards .500 towards the end of the year, with half the season left to go. They’ve won three of their last five against pretty tough competition, and were happy to reward their fans for their patience, who sat through the heat wave that is gripping the east coast with their ninth-innings win.
The loss against the bottom-dwelling Nationals is a disappointment for the Padres, but they still sit in a good position, a full three games above divisional rivals the L.A Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West division.



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