The advent of year-long interleague play is one of the biggest changes to baseball.
Zimmermann looks to continue his mastery over the Junior Circuit when he takes the ball Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox, who are expected to have Dunn back in their lineup.
In his season debut Thursday, Zimmermann (1-0, 1.50 ERA) gave up eight hits and allowed at least one baserunner in each of the six innings he pitched but was able to hold Miami to a run in a 6-1 victory.
"It's one of those days where I had to battle," the right-hander told the Nationals' official website.
He might have an easier time against Chicago (4-3).
In 11 career interleague starts, Zimmermann has a 1.99 ERA - the fourth-lowest among qualifying pitchers since 2009. The White Sox are among the AL teams he has shut down, as he threw seven scoreless innings in his lone start against them in 2011.
Dunn went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in that game, and will likely be back in the lineup to face his former teammate with the Nationals in 2009 and '10.
In making his first trip back to Nationals Park since becoming a free agent following 2010, Dunn was out of the starting lineup for the first time this season in Tuesday's series-opening 8-7 loss. He had made five starts at DH and one at first base while batting cleanup in Chicago's first two series.
Asked what he thinks about the different DH rules in baseball's two leagues, Dunn replied: "I do have an opinion. But I'd like to keep it to myself, because I like my job."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said it was "more than likely" Dunn, who has two homers and three RBIs, would play in the field Wednesday.
Paul Konerko moved into the cleanup spot and played first base Tuesday, hitting a three-run homer in the seventh inning to bring the White Sox within 6-5.
Alex Rios homered in his fourth straight game, and he's batting .407 with seven RBIs on the season. He is also hitting .412 with nine RBIs in his last seven games versus the Nationals.
Washington (5-2) had four homers Tuesday, with Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond each going deep and Adam LaRoche hitting two. LaRoche homered in consecutive at-bats to end an 0-for-15 start to the season.
"We've got a really balanced lineup. That's something that we have that most teams don't. It's tough on matchups. It's tough on pitchers, really," said Werth, who has three homers and seven RBIs over the last five games. "There's not really an easy spot in our lineup."
The leadoff spot has been capably manned by offseason acquisition Denard Span , who has a .484 on-base percentage. The former Twin is a career .486 hitter (17 for 35) against scheduled Chicago starter Gavin Floyd (0-1, 3.00).
Floyd gave up four hits and three runs - all in the fifth inning - and was taken out after six in Thursday's 3-1 loss to Kansas City.
"I've been working on a lot of stuff and felt like it came together pretty well," the righty told the White Sox's official website.
Like Zimmermann, Floyd has pitched well in interleague play, recording a 2.79 ERA in 17 starts. In his last outing against the Nationals in 2010, he gave up a run over eight innings.
White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham left Tuesday with nerve irritation in his left wrist, and he expects to miss "a couple of days."
|Chicago White Sox|
|April 09, 2013||Gordon Beckham||Day-to-Day||Left game - nerve irritation, left wrist|
|March 22, 2013||Leyson Septimo||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|March 22, 2013||John Danks||15-Day DL||Recovery from left shoulder surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Christian Garcia||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm tendon|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even Davey Johnson, at 70 the oldest manager in the majors, never heard of this one: The umpires got caught in a traffic jam.
That was the official reason given for the 16-minute delay at the start of what turned out to be his Washington Nationals ' 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Johnson's shortstop, Ian Desmond , could empathize.
"I've been stuck in traffic many a time here in D.C. I'm surprised they got here as fast as they did," Desmond said with a smile. "It's always an adventure here."
Desmond had a triple and a pair of doubles, Bryce Harper homered, and Danny Espinosa provided his first two RBIs of the season, helping the Nationals improve to 5-0 at home. Jordan Zimmermann (2-0) limited Chicago to two runs and seven hits in seven innings. Both runs scored on groundouts.
"We threw a lot of fastballs inside," said Zimmermann, who is 7-0 with a 2.91 ERA in his last 13 home starts, "and got a lot of broken bats."
Johnson said the umpires "called in about 40 minutes before the game and said that they were a mile away, but it may take forever."
He added: "Didn't seem to bother Zim too much. Pitched a great ballgame."
Drew Storen pitched the eighth, and closer Rafael Soriano worked around a hit in the ninth for his fourth save in five chances.
Harper hit his fourth homer into the second deck leading off the fourth against Gavin Floyd (0-2), who allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. Harper turned on Floyd's first pitch of the at-bat, an 86 mph offering that never stood a chance. With a "thwack!" off the bat, the ball arced into the second deck beyond right field, and Harper paused for a moment to watch his shot before sprinting around the bases.
"Early on, he's hacking. I think he's one of the highest-percentage (hitters) early on, so you kind of know that and you're making pitches," Floyd said, "and my cutter didn't cut like I wanted it to."
That gave the Nationals 11 homers in their last four games, 15 for the season. The 14 entering Wednesday were a franchise record through a season's first seven games.
Floyd struck out the next two batters, but then got into more trouble, giving up Desmond's double and Espinosa's single that gave Washington a 2-1 lead.
"It's a tough lineup," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "And when you get to that fifth or sixth inning, it's hard to get through it again."
Every Nationals starting position player reached base at least once; the only one without a hit, Kurt Suzuki , walked three times.
Harper's next time at the plate, in the fifth, he followed a single by Jayson Werth with a single up the middle of his own, this time on a 91 mph first pitch. TV replays showed Harper's bat split on impact with the ball, then broke completely as the wood slapped against his back on his follow-through.
Ryan Zimmerman followed with an RBI single to shallow right.
After Chicago drew within 3-2 on Alex Rios ' RBI groundout in the top of the sixth, Washington chased Floyd in the bottom half by tacking on two more runs.
Desmond led off with a triple, Espinosa followed with an RBI double, Suzuki walked and Zimmermann sacrificed the runners over.
Floyd was done, and lefty reliever Donnie Veal came in to face Denard Span but gave up a run-scoring single.
"There were a lot of guys that had really good (at-bats)," Harper said, "and really came up big for us tonight."
NOTES: Rios' four-game homer streak ended. ... A smattering of applause from the crowd of 24,586 greeted the first announcement of Adam Dunn 's presence in the White Sox lineup. He played in Washington in 2009 and 2010. Usually Chicago's DH, he sat out Tuesday's series opener and played left field Wednesday, going 0 for 4 with an RBI groundout in the sixth. ... Chicago 2B Gordon Beckham sat out after hurting his left wrist Tuesday. He's not sure how long he'll be sidelined. Jeff Keppinger started at second Wednesday, with Conor Gillaspie at third. ... White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is still hospitalized with a stomach illness.
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