VIERA, Fla. (AP) — Jordan Zimmermann breezed through two shutout innings with only 20 pitches for the Washington Nationals in what turned into a wild, 16-15 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Zimmermann, who tied for the NL lead with 19 wins last season, gave up one hit and struck out one in his brief appearance.
The right-hander had a lot of success with his changeup last year and was pleased with the pitch on Saturday, particularly in the first inning when he got Atlanta's Freddie Freeman to ground out.
Zimmermann seemed to surprise Freeman by throwing a changeup on a 1-0 count.
"He kind of looked at me like, 'Really? We're starting this already?'" Zimmermann said. "It got to 3-2 and I figured it was the last thing he was looking for. I threw a pretty good one. It was up a little bit, but he rolled it over I got a groundball, so it was good."
Atlanta and Washington combined for 31 runs on 37 hits, including 11 doubles. There were six errors, five by Washington, and a combined 14 walks.
Mike Fontenot drove in four runs and Tyler Moore had three RBIs for the Nationals.
Jordan Schafer went 3 for 3 and doubled twice for Atlanta. Matt Lipka had three hits and four RBIs.
The scoring came mostly in the middle innings. It was 2-all after the third, and 16-15 after the sixth.
The Braves got nine runs in the top of the fifth to take a 14-6 lead, but the Nationals rallied with five runs each in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings — while only getting three hits.
Braves: Julio Teheran threw two scoreless innings, striking out one and giving up two hits while tossing 30 pitches, 21 for strikes. He was particularly happy with his slider, which he used to strike out Anthony Rendon in the first inning.
"It was exciting to come back on the mound and do what I expect — just throw strikes," Teheran said. "In the offseason I've been trying to (perfect) my curveball and my slider. I think this year is going to be different because of the all the experience with my slider."