Zimmerman hits milestone in sweep
CINCINNATI — The Nationals opened the second half with a franchise record, a series sweep and a significant upgrade.
Ryan Zimmerman set the franchise career home run record with a solo shot and Bryce Harper connected again as the NL East leaders powered to a 6-1 victory Monday for a four-game sweep of the Reds.
Zimmerman’s 235th home run moved him ahead of Vladimir Guerrero for most in Expos and Nationals history.
“It’s special to be in one place your entire career,” said ZimmerTuesday man, in his 12th season with the team that made him a first-round draft pick. “I feel very lucky to have spent my entire career here.”
The Nationals emerged from the All-Star break with an emphatically successful series — 13 homers, including three by Harper, and 35 runs by the league’s top offense. They improved to a season-high 20 games over .500 (56-36) with their ninth victory in 11 games.
The roster got better during the series too. The Nats shored up their bullpen by getting Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the A’s. They’ll join the team in Los Angeles for a series against the Angels.
“We know we have a good team and we’ve put ourselves in a good spot to start the second half, but we’ve got a ways to go,” Zimmerman said. “We acquired two talented guys for the bullpen, and we’ll just try to keep scoring runs so that they can come in and lock the games up.”
Stephen Strasburg (10-3) struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. It was his sixth double-digit-strikeout game of the season and the 35th of his career.
Harper’s home run extended his hitting streak to 12 games.