Nats avoid sweep with 9-3 win

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The Nationals’ record against the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays is now 5-4 this year. As improbable as that seems, they pushed the mark against the top three teams in the AL East above .500 with a 9-3 win over Boston on Thursday night.

The story in this one was Jordan Zimmermann, who got his first win since late April, when he also went seven innings against the Mets. Come to think of it, that was also in a packed house where most of the fans were rooting against him (although that was at least in New York).

Zimmermann threw 109 pitches in seven innings, 77 for strikes, and allowed one run on five hits. He had a 12-pitch first inning and kept that same aggressive mentality against the Red Sox’ lineup all night.

“He’s not intimidated, for sure,” manager Manny Acta said. “What he does is, he attacks hitters with his best stuff, which is his fastball, regardless of who we’re playing. If he’s going to get hit, he gets hit, and if not, he’s going to get the best out of them. That’s what he’s done against every team he’s pitched, and I think the kid has a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation guy for years to come.”

Tonight marked the third or fourth time this season I’ve heard visiting writers rave about Zimmermann, and he certainly made an impression on Boston’s traveling party tonight.

One injury note: Acta said Nick Johnson has a lot of swelling in his leg from the left shin contusion he sustained after getting hit by a pitch in the first inning, though it wasn’t as bad at the end of the night as it was when Johnson came out of the game. He will be re-evaluated in Washington before the Nationals head up to Baltimore tomorrow.

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