Ryan Zimmerman‘s injury may have felt like a big blow to the Washington Nationals‘ hopes, but the early returns without him are promising.
The Nationals (57-45) capped off their fourth straight series win with a road victory over the Cincinnati Reds (52-52) behind seven shutout innings from Doug Fister and four two-out RBIs, winning 4-2.
Much like Saturday’s game, the bats were ice cold in the early going. Through four innings, the Nats were hitless at the hands of Mat Latos, while Fister had given up just one hit and retired nine of the last ten batters he had faced. But Danny Espinosa, starting in Zimmerman’s absence and serving as a shining example of the Nationals’ depth, broke up the no-no with a single to lead off the fifth and opened the offensive floodgates.
With two outs, the Nats got a hit by pitch and a pair of walks, the second of which came with the bases loaded and brought home Espinosa. Adam LaRoche capped off the rally with a single that brought home two, staking the Nationals to a 3-0 lead.
Fister (W, 10-2) grabbed the advantage and ran, snuffing out any offensive threats the Reds tried to ignite. He ended up throwing seven scoreless innings, in which he gave up just three hits and a walk while striking out five. He earned his team-leading tenth win, tying him with Tanner Roark. His decision also set a team record, as the tenth win came in just his fourteenth start with the Nationals.
The Nationals tacked on another run in the ninth thanks to an Anthony Rendon single. Aaron Barrett was originally sent out to end the game, but he gave up hits to the first two batters he faced and was pulled. Rafael Soriano allowed those runners to score on a double, cutting the lead to 4-2 and bumping Barrett’s ERA to 3.38. But Soriano settled down and retired the next three Reds he faced to earn his 200th career save.
The Nationals head to Miami tomorrow.