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Other teams still respect Zimmerman’s enormous talent. After he homered and singled in his first two trips yesterday, the Cubs walked him intentionally to load the bases with one out in the fifth. Lousy idea, Lou Piniella. Dmitri Young, who began the afternoon batting 86 points higher than Zimmerman, promptly added to his All-Star resume with a grand slam that powered the awakened Nats to a 6-0 victory before 39,207 mostly delighted and probably astonished spectators.

One game does not a season make, either for Ryan Zimmerman or his team. But at this point, any sign of a turnaround is welcome.

“You can always get better,” Zimmerman said. Certainly he will — and the sooner the better.