Zimmermann, Nationals fall to Orioles 2-1

Associated Press Published: June 22, 2012

BALTIMORE (AP) — It happens so often, you can almost mark it on your calendar: Every fifth day, when Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound, the Washington Nationals are going to struggle to score.

And so it was on Friday night, when the Nationals failed to produce a single earned run in a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Zimmermann (3-6) gave up two runs and eight hits over seven innings. It was an impressive outing, except when compared to that of Baltimore's Jason Hammel, who tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and allowed five hits in eight solid innings.

Coming in, Zimmermann was receiving only 3.2 runs of support while in the game. This one only lowered the average — and hammered home a point.

"He's pitched great. We just haven't been scoring for him," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "We hit the ball hard today with runners on, got zilch.

Zimmermann gave up a second-inning solo homer to Mark Reynolds and a two-out RBI double to J.J. Hardy in the fifth. That was enough to keep him winless in five starts since May 28.

"He's 3-6. He's pitching a lot better than that, that's for dang sure," Johnson said.

Zimmermann isn't one to complain. He just does his job and hopes for the best.

"I just try to keep the team in it as long as I can and stay out there as long as I can and save the bullpen," he said. "I didn't have my best stuff tonight, but it was good enough to get through seven."

Coming off a one-hit shutout against Atlanta, Hammel (8-2) improved to 5-0 lifetime against Washington. He didn't top his outing against the Braves, but at least he built on it.

"It can't really get much better than that for me," Hammel said of his gem in Atlanta. "Obviously a no-hitter or a perfect game, but that didn't happen. I did basically the same thing, just come at them with two-seamers, aggressive in the zone, make them swing and put it in play."

Hammel, who did not issue a walk, has gone 19 straight innings without giving up an earned run.

"He was pretty nasty," Johnson said. "He had everything working."

After Hammel left, Jim Johnson got three outs for his 21st save.

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