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Zimmermann quiets Detroit bats, Nationals win 3-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm •  Published: May 8, 2013

Washington (AP) — Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmermann allowed a run. Still, the result was the same in the end.

After pitching 17 shutout innings in his prior two starts, the right-hander allowed one run in seven innings in a 3-1 win over the Detroit Tigers Wednesday night.

"Zim was spectacular, pitched a great ballgame," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Bryce Harper hit a solo homer and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to back Zimmermann's NL-leading sixth win.

Denard Span added a triple and a single for Washington, which has won five of six.

Zimmermann (6-1), whose overall scoreless streak was snapped at 20 innings in the third, allowed seven hits over seven innings. He fanned seven and lowered his ERA to 1.59 in winning his third straight start.

"He didn't change his game plan. He just mixed his pitches up and basically went right after them with the fastball," Johnson said. You could tell he was pumped up. I don't think I've seen him throwing that hard all the way through."

Zimmermann's start was pushed back by Tuesday's rainout and then a 57-minute delay prior to the start of Wednesday's game.

"It was a good outing. I didn't feel as good as I have in the past," Zimmermann said. "The curveball wasn't very good and the changeup wasn't good, but the slider was really good tonight and (I) had a really good fastball, so we pretty much stuck with those two pitches."

Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.

Jhonny Peralta had two hits for the Tigers, who had won four straight and nine of 10.

"We didn't get much off a hot pitcher even though I thought we had pretty good at-bats off him to be honest with you." Tiger manager Jim Leyland said.

Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (3-3) allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and struck out eight.

It was Washington's first win against Sanchez, who was 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 19 starts against the Nationals while with the Marlins.

Zimmermann's consecutive wins have come against the Reds, Braves and now the Tigers. Detroit began play tied with Colorado for first in the majors in hitting (.285) and third in runs scored.

"He doesn't show a lot of outward expression, but there's big fire burning there. He likes any just about any challenge," Johnson said of Zimmermann.

Tyler Clippard walked two with two outs in the eighth inning, but pitched out of it for Washington.

The Nationals took a 2-1 lead on an unearned run in the fourth. Adam LaRoche led off with a single and Danny Espinosa singled him to second with one out. Kurt Suzuki flied to right and LaRoche tagged and went for third. Torii Hunter's throw hit LaRoche's shoulder as he slid, eluded third baseman Miguel Cabrera and went out of play. LaRoche was awarded home and Espinosa third.

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