Nats: Mr. Walkoff returns! Ryan Zimmerman’s grand slam beats Phillies 8-4

Yesterday, I was thinking about how pathetic Ryan Zimmerman‘s Walk-Off total was in 2011. Foolishly, I didn’t tweet it, Facebook it, etc.

The Washington Nationals scored two runs in ninth and loaded the bases. Zimmerman had a 3-2 count with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with , game tied with Ryan Madson pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies:

Just in case that video gets pulled (which it will) here is the MLB.com link.
I like the look back to the dugout, I wonder what he was talking about with his teammates prior to his at bat.

The blast was Zimmerman’s 8th career game-ending home run which is why he’s called Mr. Walkoff. I named Zimmerman that on Opening Night 2008 when he inaugurated Nationals Park with a walk-off. Zimmerman is now 66.6% of the way there to the all-time walkoff record shared by Jim Thome, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth who all have 12. By the way, it’d be nice if the Nats would acknowledge I created the nickname.

You have to like What Zimmerman had to say about the situation too: “The pressure’s on him, man,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not on me.” as quoted in Adam Kilgore’s great write-up: Nationals vs. Phillies: Ryan Zimmerman hits walk-off grand slam to cap Washington’s improbable rallyThe Post

Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington described the scene this way: “The entire marathon night had come down to this singular moment, a moment that would leave mere mortals shaking with trepidation but incredibly leaves Zimmerman in his ultimate comfort zone.”

The Nats had rallied back from a 4-0 deficit. The Phillies had tagged ¡LIVAN! for 4 runs in the third inning. He’d only go one more inning because he had thrown a tremendous mount of pitches:

Amanda Comak of The Wash. Times Zimmerman’s walk-off grand slam lifts Nats to 8-4 comeback win over Phillies noted that: “Hernandez threw 85 pitches during his pre-game bullpen session, nine in the game, roughly 35 in the cage four different times during the rain delay and 30 pitches to warmup once the delay concluded. Then he threw 59 more in the game — seven of which were hit in the third inning to help the Phillies to a 4-0 lead. By the time Hernandez was done for the night, he’d thrown over 300 pitches.”

Phillies starter Roy Oswalt got scratched without throwing a pitch and was replaced by Kyle Kendrick. Overall, ¡LIVAN! had very active night:

Tom Gorzelanny allowed only one hit in 3 innings of relief. Sean Burnett and Todd Coffey both pitched scoreless innings with the latter earning the win.

Game 2 of the series is tonight with John Lannan set to face Roy Oswalt. Lannan has some better numbers 8-8, 3.54 ERA than Oswalt 5-7 3.84 ERA, but the Phillies own Lannan. The season series and thus the Cheeseteak/Half-Smoke Challenge is at 7-5 in favor of the Phillies. A Nats sweep this weekend, however unlikely, would tie it up.

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