Perhaps facing the team his last win came against can help Zimmermann end his slide.
Zimmermann takes the mound in Friday night's series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Zimmermann (12-6, 3.19 ERA) joined Detroit's Max Scherzer as baseball's only 12-game winners when he gave up four runs and nine hits over six innings in a 10-5 victory over Milwaukee on July 1. He has since gone 0-3 with a 7.52 ERA in four starts.
The right-hander surrendered five runs and six hits - including two homers to Daniel Murphy - in an 11-0 loss to the New York Mets on Friday, though eight strikeouts were his most in six starts. He threw a career-high 118 pitches in only 6 2-3 innings, and is averaging 17.5 pitches per inning over his last four outings after averaging 13.6 in his previous 17 starts.
"I felt like, you know, I pitched a lot better than what the stat line says," said Zimmermann, who owns a 2.89 ERA while winning all three career starts versus Milwaukee (46-62).
Washington (52-56) has lost 14 of 20, plummeting well behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Nationals have been subpar all season with runners in scoring position, hitting .241, but have been even worse lately.
Since their skid began July 8, the Nationals are 23 for 133 (.180) with runners in scoring position - the lowest in baseball. That average would be even worse had they not gone 9 for 12 in Sunday's 14-1 win over the Mets.
LaRoche and Desmond were 0 for 7 overall with four strikeouts in an 11-1 loss at Detroit on Wednesday, the 12th time the club has been held to two runs or fewer in its last 14 defeats.
"Everybody's got to want it, starting with the manager on down - everybody," said Bryce Harper , who was 1 for 15 with six strikeouts when Washington split four games against Milwaukee from July 1-4. "Everybody wants to win this and keep going. We need to get going and play better, hit better, have better ABs in certain situations and pitch better also. It's just something we need to do."
Harper is batting .333 in 12 games since the break but is 5 for 42 (.119) in 12 career contests against the Brewers.
Scheduled Milwaukee starter Tom Gorzelanny (2-4, 2.83) is coming off his first win in 15 starts dating to May 7, 2011. The left-hander threw 5 1-3 innings while allowing six hits and four runs - all in the sixth - in a 7-5 victory at Colorado on Saturday.
"That inning I could have done a little bit better," said Gorzelanny, 2-1 in three starts against Washington with a 3.15 ERA. "All that matter is we got the win."
Rickie Weeks is batting .119 over his last 16 games but is 3 for 7 lifetime off Zimmermann.
|July 24, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Blister|
|July 24, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|July 04, 2013||Ross Detwiler||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 23, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Left game - left groin strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 31, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 30, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||Day-to-Day||Left hamstring tightness|
|July 27, 2013||Jean Segura||Day-to-Day||Right forearm tightness|
|July 23, 2013||Donovan Hand||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|July 21, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|July 09, 2013||Norichika Aoki||Day-to-Day||Left elbow tightness|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jordan Zimmermann put on a pretty good show for his family and friends in the stands.
The Auburndale, Wis., native earned his career-high 13th win and Bryce Harper hit a home run and the Washington Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 on Friday.
"You always want do to well in your home state and in front of your family and friends," he said. "I was happy to put up some zeroes, get the month of July over with and into a new month."
Zimmermann (13-6) was 12-8 in 2012 after 32 starts. Friday's victory came in his 22nd start. He went six innings, struck out four, but walked a season-high four.
"Every inning, there was a double or a walk and a guy would steal a base," Zimmermann said. "There he sat on second with no outs, but I was able to get a few ground balls and some easy outs when I needed them."
He worked out of jams in the first and third innings, each time stranding Rickie Weeks at third. The Brewers finished 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
"It wasn't that much pressure," Zimmermann said. "I just needed a good start after the last three or four I had that were just brutal. It was nice to go out there, go six and put up zeroes. We got the win. That was the main thing."
Washington scored a run in the fifth off Alfredo Figaro (1-3). Harper made it 2-0 in the sixth with his 16th homer of the season.
"That's just Harp," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I expect stuff like that out of Harp. He had a good game."
Anthony Rendon singled home a run in the seventh.
With runners at the corners, Harper added a run when he reached on an error by second baseman Weeks that allowed Denard Span to score in the ninth.
Jonathan Lucroy spoiled the shutout when he hit the first pitch from Tyler Clippard in the eighth for a solo home run.
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 27th save.
Ian Desmond doubled over center fielder Carlos Gomez 's head in the fifth. With Span batting, Desmond stole third and then scored when third baseman Jeff Bianchi failed to field the throw from Lucroy.
"We made some mistakes again today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Desmond's steal hurt us. You get behind, you get behind on these guys and if go into the ninth inning and you have to score three runs to tie it, it makes it tough. Really we gave them a couple of runs. We need to play better."
Jayson Werth went 3 for 4 with two singles and a double for Washington.
Figaro was in the game because starter Tom Gorzelanny left in the second inning after being hit on the left wrist by a line drive.
Werth led off the second with a sharp liner right back at the left-hander as he completed his follow-through. At first it appeared the ball struck Gorzelanny on the wrist and then rolled toward the third-base line.
He raced after the ball holding his left arm, but made no effort to pick it up.
Gorzelanny was examined by the team's training staff and was removed from the game. He was replaced by Figaro. The club said that Gorzelanny has a left elbow contusion. X-rays were negative.
"It's a contusion of the left elbow," Roenicke said. "It's day to day. We'll see how he is tomorrow. Hopefully, and for us, obviously, he can make his next start, but I'm not sure."
It's been a tough week for Brewers starters.
Yovani Gallardo left Tuesday's game against the Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning with a strained left hamstring. He went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.
NOTES: Spin Williams, the Nationals' minor-league pitching coordinator, took the place of pitching coach Steve McCatty , who did not make the trip. McCatty became ill on Sunday just before the game with the New York Mets . Williams said the two are in constant communication about the pitching staff. McCatty is expected back for Monday's home game against the Atlanta Braves . ... Zimmermann made his fourth career start against the Brewers. ... It was Figaro's third straight relief appearance after four consecutive starts. ... The game started at 7:29 instead of the normal 7:10. The Brewers honored Hall of Famer Robin Yount on the 20th anniversary of his retirement. ... The Nationals are 13-1 this season when Harper hits a home run.