WASHINGTON - Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven scoreless innings to get his ninth win, tying him for most in the majors, and the Washington Nationals' bats showed some rare signs on life Sunday in a 7-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
"(Zimmermann) was pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was throwing the ball really well. And we kind of missed a few plays out there and didn't get too many hits, but he was throwing the ball good. He has a lot of pitches for us and it was the first time we had the opportunity to face him."
The Nationals, who hadn't scored more than three runs for seven straight games, managed to get five across in one inning as they broke a two-game losing streak and moved within one game of .500.
Zimmermann (9-3) did the rest, allowing only two hits while striking out eight with a season-high 111 pitches. His ERA dropped to 2.00, and he's tied with Boston's Clay Buchholz, Arizona's Patrick Corbin and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright atop the wins list.
The Twins managed only three hits for the game. Pitcher Scott Diamond gave up 10 hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
"He was OK," Gardenhire said. "He got some balls up and they hit some balls hard."
Gardenhire wasn't pleased with his team's defense. He said that Diamond fell victim, in particular, in the fifth inning when Brian Dozier misplayed a ground ball off the bat of Adam LaRoche.
It was ruled a hit, but Gardenhire said it's a play that should have been made and one that ultimately led to a 5-run inning for the Nationals.
On a positive note, Northfield native Caleb Thielbar pitched two scoreless innings of relief. In eight games for the Twins this season, the rookie has not allowed a run in 10 innings of work.
Former Twins center fielder Denard Span missed the game after fouling a pitch off his right foot in Saturday's 11-inning loss.
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