The right-hander will try to extend his career-best win streak to six Saturday night with another victory over the Marlins.
Zimmermann is doing his best to aid the Nationals' drive to a division title by going 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA over his last seven starts. Among those outings was six-inning scoreless stint in a 5-1 win over Miami on July 13 that ended a personal three-game losing streak over his six previous starts versus the Marlins
Since that game, Zimmermann (8-6, 2.28 ERA) has allowed a combined two runs over three starts. He gave up one over six innings last Saturday during a 4-1 win at Milwaukee, which is around 200 miles away from his hometown of Auburndale, Wisc.
"There's really no wiggle room when you got Zimmermann, who's probably the most underrated pitcher in baseball," Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf told the Nationals' website. "He really goes under the radar, but he's got great numbers."
Zimmermann will try to keep his run going pitching opposite Mark Buehrle (9-10, 3.60), who is 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA over his last three starts. In the latest of those outings Monday in Atlanta, the left-hander gave up six runs, eight hits and four walks over 4 1-3 innings, his briefest start for Miami (49-58).
"I'm just falling behind too much and having to make pitches in tough spots behind in the count, in hitters' counts," Buehrle said. "It's just one of those stretches right now."
Buehrle is seeking to clinch his 12th consecutive 10-win season and might get there if he can repeat his latest outing against the Nationals (63-43). He gave up one run and struck out seven over seven innings during a 2-1 home victory July 14, his most recent one.
Miami heads into this game after earning its first win in four road games against Washington this season, 5-2 to split Friday's doubleheader. Carlos Lee drove in three runs during that victory and Jose Reyes went 3 for 5 to extend his hit streak to a career-best 22 games, one shy of tying the longest run in the majors this season.
"I feel like every time I put a swing on the ball, it's a good swing," Reyes told the team's website. "That's good. I've been consistent, that's something I missed in the first half of the season, to just be consistent on a daily basis."
The Marlins, though, have hardly been consistent as a team lately, having lost 12 of 17 overall and 11 of 14 on the road. The Nationals, meanwhile, are 10-5 over their last 15, including a 7-4 victory Friday's series opener. Adam LaRoche , who homered and drove in three runs during that win, is batting .422 with five homers and 12 RBIs over his last 12 games.
LaRoche is 4 for 10 with two doubles lifetime against Buehrle, while Reyes is batting .316 (6 for 19) over his career versus Zimmermann. Washington's Michael Morse , riding a 12-game hit streak, is 1 for 9 against Buehrle.
Kurt Suzuki is expected to report to the Nationals in time for Saturday's game after the catcher was acquired from Oakland on Friday for a minor leaguer.
|August 03, 2012||Emilio Bonifacio||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb sprain|
|July 29, 2012||Logan Morrison||15-Day DL||Right knee inflammation|
|July 23, 2012||Juan Carlos Oviedo||15-Day DL||Right elbow sprain|
|July 08, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic right knee surgery|
|July 08, 2012||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Right finger laceration|
|July 06, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 01, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 29, 2012||Adam LaRoche||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back tightness|
|July 22, 2012||Ian Desmond||15-Day DL||Torn left oblique|
|July 18, 2012||Jhonatan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|July 01, 2012||Chien-Ming Wang||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|June 30, 2012||Stephen Strasburg||Day-to-Day||Left game - heat exhaustion|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals admit that they are scoreboard-watching, and while trailing by two runs in the eighth inning, they noticed that the Atlanta Braves had lost.
Thanks to a drop of an easy toss to first by Miami reliever Mike Dunn , the Nationals rallied for six runs in the eighth and went on to beat the Marlins 10-7 on Saturday night.
Washington stretched their lead in the NL East to three games over the Braves.
"It's a tight race," outfielder Bryce Harper said. "The Braves are playing well. We're playing well. When we win, they win. It's going to be tough to keep this going."
In the eighth, Danny Espinosa had a three-run shot and Harper followed it with a solo shot. Earlier in the game, Adam LaRoche homered twice.
The Nationals overcame three errors - two by Espinosa, who broke a 1-for-20 slump with two hits and his 10th home run of the season.
"It started out a very sloppy game on our end, really for the majority of that game," LaRoche said. "To turn it around like that, it says something about this club. Not that we should be surprised. We've been doing it all year.
"They took advantage of every mistake we made. They stole a bunch of runs. It wasn't looking good. That was a huge inning."
Washington trailed 6-4 heading into the eighth, but the Nationals tied it on run-scoring singles by Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore against Dunn (0-1). Dunn allowed six runs - all unearned - but his error caused the damage. He dropped Carlos Lee 's toss on LaRoche's ground ball with one out.
Miami manager Ozzie Guillen delivered an expletive-laden tirade when asked about Dunn's error.
"There you go," he said. "There's the baseball game right there. He gives up a home run, that's fine. But we do the same (stuff) every day, day in and day out. That's the reason why we practice that."
Dunn also said that he regularly practices the play.
"Probably a million times. Every day," he said. "I'd like to know when the last time I dropped a ball like that. I don't know if I just took my concentration off for a split second and that was enough for me to drop it."
Ryan Mattheus (4-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win. Tyler Clippard allowed a run in the ninth.
Two weeks ago, Espinosa moved to shortstop from second base when Ian Desmond when on the disabled list with an oblique strain. Espinosa has made five errors in 20 games at short after committing just four in 88 games at second base.
"I think the errors are pretty uncharacteristic of me. They're stupid errors," Espinosa said.
LaRoche homered twice off Marlins starter Mark Buehrle , giving LaRoche 23 this season.
Miami's Jose Reyes had three hits, scored four runs and stole two bases. His 23-game hitting streak is tied with the New York Yankees ' Robinson Cano for the longest in the majors this season.
Jordan Zimmermann started for Washington and allowed five runs - four earned - and seven hits in five innings.
The Marlins broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth. Bryan Petersen led off with a single off Zimmermann, moved to second on Scott Cousins ' sacrifice, and scored when Espinosa fielded Reyes' infield single and threw it away. Reyes stole second and scored on Lee's double.
Buehrle allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Miami scored an unearned run in the seventh when Reyes led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on an error by Lombardozzi and scored on a squeeze by Donovan Solano .
NOTES: Dunn hadn't given up a home run in his first 32 appearances of the season. ... The Marlins put 2B Emilio Bonifacio on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb. He reinjured the thumb on Friday. Miami purchased the contract of INF Nick Green from Triple-A New Orleans. ... Marlins INF Donnie Murphy missed his second game with a strained left hamstring. ... Miami OF Giancarlo Stanton , on the DL after right knee surgery, hit a home run in four at-bats in a rehab game with Class-A Jupiter. Guillen expects Stanton back when Miami plays in New York on Tuesday. ... Petersen had a season-high three hits. ... The Nationals sent C Sandy Leon to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for newly acquired C Kurt Suzuki from Oakland. Suzuki was hitless in three at-bats. ... Washington OF Michael Morse extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... RHP Ricky Nolasco (8-10, 4.90) will pitch for the Marlins on Sunday against RHP Stephen Strasburg (11-5, 3.12).