Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 6/9/13
Facing a lineup featuring zero familiarity with his pitching arsenal, Washington Nationals ace Jordan Zimmermann slammed the door shut on Minnesota's chances of an interleague sweep on the road. Hard. And fast. Zimmermann blew through a Twins batting order bereft of Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham in the first game of Sunday's split doubleheader, allowing only two hits and striking out eight, which ties his season high. Minnesota was shut out for the fifth time this year but can still salvage a series split in the day's second game, a 6:05 p.m. makeup of Friday's rainout. With stars Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg both on the disabled list, Zimmermann provided the Nationals some salve in the 7-0 victory. Their 4-3, 11-inning loss to Minnesota Saturday marked their 12th setback in 18 outings. "He was pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Zimmermann, who dropped his ERA to 2.00 and lasted seven innings for the ninth time in 13 starts this season. "He's throwing the ball really well, and we kind of missed a few plays out there and didn't get too many hits. That's a lot of pitches for us, and it was the first time we had the opportunity to face him. He's a good pitcher." The Twins' plate patience ran up the Stevens Point, Wis., native's pitch count early, but a mixture of his four-seam fastball and elusive curveball allowed him to finish off batters. All six Minnesota outs in the second and third innings came via a swinging strikeout, and the zest in Zimmermann's right arm never dwindled. Even on his 111th and final pitch of the afternoon, he hit 96 mph on the radar gun in another ring-up, this one against Chris Colabello to end the top of the seventh. By then, Zimmermann had plenty of run support courtesy of a five-run fifth inning. "He's been great all year," said Washington left fielder Steve Lombardozzi Jr., the son of former Twins second baseman Steve Lombardozzi. "You know what you're gonna get from him. It was good we got him some runs this outing. "We've been struggling to get some runs across, so having a big inning like that helps." Big fifth: That big inning almost never happened. With two outs and a runner on first, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman smacked a double to right field that put Nationals on second and third. Adam LaRoche then cranked a single off the chest of Twins second baseman Brian Dozier to score Lombardozzi from third. Ian Desmond followed with a two-run single to chase starter Scott Diamond, but reliever Ryan Pressly coughed up a two-run double to Anthony Rendon. The final damage: five runs on four hits, all with two outs, and a 7-0 deficit. Gardenhire said LaRoche's sharp grounder, which carried Dozier two steps to his right, shouldn't have been ruled a hit. "That's an error, and we just missed the ball," Gardenhire said. "I know they called it a hit, but this is the big leagues, folks. That's an error." A season-low-tying three-hit effort didn't help matters. Pressly 'fine': Pressly left the mound in the bottom of the sixth with some soreness in his tricep. Gardenhire said the Twins medical staff examined him, and everything checked out OK. "We're not gonna mess with him," Gardenhire said "But he should be just fine. Diamond not shining: Entering with a 4-4 record and 4.66 ERA, Diamond gave up 10 or more hits for just the second time this season. The Twins have lost four of the past six games he's started. Turn around: Minnesota's Samuel Deduno (2-1, 3.44 ERA) takes on Washington's Nathan Karns (0-1, 6.00) in Sunday's nightcap. Mauer and Willingham are both expected to return to the Twins' lineup. Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Durant thinks meme of him and Draymond Green is ‘hilarious’

Eric Thames now has as many homers vs the Reds as any other MLB player has total

WATCH: Jonas Valanciunas, Greg Monroe get into it after hard foul

Steve Kerr present at arena in Game 4

Serena Williams fires back at Ilie Nastase’s racist comment about her child

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors F Kevin Durant to play in Game 4 against the Blazers

Magic Johnson will represent the Lakers at NBA Draft Lottery

Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes suspended, fined for throwing at Manny Machado

Jerry Jones happy Tony Romo isn’t playing for another NFL team

Pitcher admits facing Tim Tebow is intimidating

Alfred Blue’s car discovered in Louisiana swamp

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

20 of the best NFL Draft red carpet looks

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB (and that's just the injuries)

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker