All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond hit his 14th home run, and the Washington Nationals became the latest team to beat up on Tim Lincecum, pounding the struggling right-hander hard early and often Tuesday night in a 9-3 victory.
The opener of the three-game series between first-place teams was barely a contest. Jordan Zimmermann (5-6) pitched a rain-shortened six innings and again enjoyed the generous run support that had evaded him for so long, ensuring the Nationals would wake up on the Fourth of July with a 3 1/2-game cushion over the New York Mets atop the NL East.
Lincecum (3-9) allowed eight runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings. Seven runs were earned, making it the worst start ERA-wise in his major league career. The two-time Cy Young Award winner started to look his old self again in his previous two starts, but Tuesday's effort ballooned his ERA to 6.08.
Desmond, one of a trio of players the surging Nationals are sending to the All-Star game next week, hit a two-run shot to le...