Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 9/24/12

Both Jordan Zimmermann and Ryan Zimmerman had great games in the series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers as the Washington Nationals slaughtered their opponents 12-2, lowering their magic number to five. The Nats and Brewers split the four game series, and both teams had some sun-assisted defensive struggles in the series.

Zimmermann spun a gem against one of the best offenses in the National League in Monday’s contest, giving up just one run on four hits in six and two-thirds innings. He walked just one and struck out seven while lowering his ERA to 2.90. It was his second-straight start giving up just one earned run in six or more innings of work, which is good news for the Nats No. 2 starter as October quickly approaches. After a rough patch in late August and early September, he looks to have turned things around.

Ryan Zimmerman also had a nice 3-for-4 day with a line drive three-run home run to right center in the fourth that blew the game wide open. The homer came after a Jayson Werth double that CF Carlos Gomez lost in the sun that scored two runs. It turns out it isn’t only Nats outfielders that have trouble with the sun at home.

Zimmerman’s homer blew it wide open to a 7-1 game. All told, it was a four RBI day for the Nats franchise player, who raised his batting average to .286. It’s not the best season Zimmerman’s ever had, but he was hitting .218 on June 23, the lowest point of his season. He’s hit .332 since then.

Ian Desmond threw together a nice day, too. Despite going 0-for-3, he drew two walks and became just the second player in Washington Nationals history (since 2005) to have a 20 home run and 20 stolen base season. The only other was Alfonso Soriano’s miraculous 40/40 season in 2006 when he went 46/41. He is one of only four players in MLB history in that group.

It was a more positive defensive day for the Nats, most notably when Bryce Harper plowed into the wall on a great catch to end the first inning. Here’s some video:

It’s an off day for the Atlanta Braves, so the Nats magic number won’t go any lower this evening. However, the Nats victory means the Braves would have to go undefeated in their remaining nine games just to tie the division if the Nats go 4-5 in their last nine. That magic number is getting awfully close.

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