There seems to be little explanation for why the lineup cannot provide Zimmermann with even average run support.
Zimmermann hopes Washington's biggest offensive outburst of the season carries over into his outing Wednesday night in the continuation of a four-game set against the host Colorado Rockies .
The right-hander is receiving an average of 3.09 runs of support per nine innings, which ranks fifth-worst in the majors. Zimmermann (3-6, 2.89 ERA) allowed two runs in seven innings Friday at Baltimore but suffered a 2-1 defeat.
"I just try to keep the team in it as long as I can and stay out there as long as I can and save the bullpen," he said.
While Zimmermann - winless in his last five starts - downplayed the lineup's struggles when he takes the hill, Johnson is well aware of the recurring theme.
"He's pitched great. We just haven't been scoring for him," the manager said. "We hit the ball hard today with runners on, got zilch.
"He's 3-6. He's pitching a lot better than that, that's for dang sure."
Zimmermann has been solid against the Rockies, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts, and he finally may be in the right place to get some support. Colorado pitchers have by far the worst ERA in the majors at 5.38, and they've been especially bad at home with a 5.97 mark.
NL East-leading Washington (42-30) set season highs for runs and hits (21) in a 12-5 win Tuesday, just its fourth victory in 11 contests.
Adam LaRoche hit two homers, Ryan Zimmerman had his 1,000th career hit and Ian Desmond and Michael Morse each had four hits. Washington's 11 extra-base hits were the franchise's most since collecting 12 on Aug. 21, 2002 - also at Colorado - as the Montreal Expos.
"We knew we had a good offense. We knew at some point we'd come around. We're too good a team not to score runs all year long," Zimmerman said. "Lucky for us, we have a real good pitching staff that's been the backbone of this team and helped us get to where we are now."
Colorado manager Jim Tracy has been mostly strict with his 75-pitch limit for the starters in his four-man rotation, which perhaps was a factor in pitching coach Bob Apodaca asking to be reassigned. Apodaca was made a special assistant to general manager Dan O'Dowd prior to Tuesday's game.
Christian Friedrich threw 70 pitches and took the loss Tuesday for the Rockies (28-45), who have lost 15 of their last 19, including seven of eight at home.
"It's not a 10- or 12-game sample where you formulate an opinion on it one way or the other," Tracy said. "I think you allow it to evolve first and see how it goes.
"Tonight was a night quite frankly where it blew up."
Edwar Cabrera has been called up from Double-A Tulsa to make his major league debut Wednesday. He's 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA in 15 starts this season, and he led the minor leagues with 217 strikeouts in 2011.
Tracy has been impressed with the left-hander and said Cabrera has a chance to stick with the Rockies.
"Just take a look at what he's done so far," Tracy told the team's official website. "He's a strike-thrower. You've got to give him an opportunity not only to get his feet wet, but get a chance to settle in at this level and see what it's all about."
|June 24, 2012||Xavier Nady||15-Day DL||Right wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2012||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Oblique soreness|
|June 11, 2012||Roger Bernadina||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|June 10, 2012||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|June 06, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained right index finger|
|May 30, 2012||Carlos Maldonado||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 17, 2012||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Sore right hamstring|
|June 03, 2012||Juan Nicasio||15-Day DL||Strained left knee|
|June 02, 2012||Jordan Pacheco||Day-to-Day||Sore left quadricep|
|June 02, 2012||Juan Nicasio||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left knee|
|May 31, 2012||Troy Tulowitzki||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|May 24, 2012||Ramon Hernandez||15-Day DL||Strained muscle, left hand|
DENVER (AP) -- Jordan Zimmermann is accustomed to pitching in tight games. He showed he can work with a big lead, too.
Zimmermann pitched seven strong innings, Ryan Zimmerman and Tyler Moore both homered for the second straight game and the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 11-5 on Wednesday night.
Moore finished with three hits, Ian Desmond also went deep and Bryce Harper had two hits for the Nationals, who had another big outburst at the plate. Washington scored nine runs once in its first 71 games before accomplishing the feat on consecutive nights at Coors Field.
Zimmermann (4-6) was the latest beneficiary, and it was a welcome change for the right-hander. He entered the game with a 2.89 ERA but the Nationals averaged just 3.1 runs when he is on the mound, the fifth lowest in the NL.
"We finally put the no-runs-scored-behind-Jordan behind us," Desmond said. "We scored a bunch of runs for him and got the W."
Marco Scutaro had two hits and two RBIs for Colorado, which matched the Nationals with 14 hits but lost for the 16th time in 20 games.
The Nationals battered Rockies pitching again, one day after setting club marks for hits and extra-base hits since moving to Washington. They roughed up starter Edwar Cabrera, who was making his major league debut after getting called up from Double-A.
"I was a little bit nervous in the first inning," he said. "They are really good hitters here in the big leagues, really good mentality, really good approach."
Washington wasted no time introducing the 24-year-old to the majors. Moore hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run second inning, and Zimmerman and Desmond hit solo shots in the third when the Nationals tacked on four more to make it 8-0.
Moore now has four multihit games since being recalled from Triple-A on June 7.
"I'm completely `see ball, hit ball,"' Moore said. "I'm not up trying to think about curveball or anything like that. Dumb it down for me I'll be at my best."
The offensive was enough for Zimmermann, who picked up his first win since May 22. The Nationals' hard-luck pitcher made the most of his run support, allowing eight hits while walking three and striking out one over seven innings. His only rough patch was giving up four hits in the third, but a double play - one of four he induced - limited the damage to one run.
"He made quality pitches when he had to and had a strong game," manager Davey Johnson said. "This is a tough ballpark to pitch in, and to hold them to one run is an outstanding effort."
He has pitched at least six innings in all 15 starts this season.
"I just want to go seven, eight innings every time out and limit the runs," Zimmermann said.
Cabrera (0-1) allowed seven runs, five earned, and seven hits. He gave up three home runs in 2 1-3 innings and left after walking Mark DeRosa , who scored on Jhonatan Solano 's two-run double off reliever Matt Reynolds .
"I don't think he was overwhelmed at all by the aura of the major leagues," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He might have been a little too ramped up, and when you get too ramped up with the type of pitcher that he is then you overthrow the ball. There's a loss of command that takes place. That's exactly what he dealt with tonight."
Zimmerman had an RBI double in the fourth to make it 9-1, and an RBI double by Desmond and a sacrifice fly by DeRosa made it 11-1 in the seventh.
Colorado scored four runs off the Washington bullpen.
NOTES: The Rockies optioned RHP Zach Putnam to Triple-A to make room for Cabrera. ... Colorado co-pitching coach Bo McLaughlin joined the team and was on the bench for the game. ... Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said on a conference call that LHP Jorge De La Rosa, who has been out since last June after Tommy John surgery, will be shut down until September and might not pitch for the Rockies this year. ... The Nationals will send RHP Edwin Jackson (4-4) to the mound in the finale of the four-game series. Josh Outman (0-3) pitches for the Rockies.