SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres’ offensive ineptness was on full display Sunday.
Jordan Zimmermann took a perfect game into the sixth inning and finished with a two-hitter and a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-0 victory against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
Zimmermann (5-2) faced only two batters over the minimum as he walked none in his first complete game of the season and sixth of his career. It was his third career shutout. His previous career high was 11 strikeouts, which he’d done twice.
“We just didn’t see the ball,” manager Bud Black said. “We didn’t pick it up off him. He pumped some fastballs on us early and mixed some breaking balls early on and we couldn’t solve him.”
The Padres were shut out for the 10th time, tops in the majors, and for the second time in the three-game series. Tanner Roark and the Nationals beat the Padres 6-0 Friday night in a combined three-hitter.
Zimmermann retired the first 16 batters before Alex Amarista singled to right field. Zimmermann then struck out pinch-hitter Tommy Medica and Everth Cabrera to end the inning.
“I think he was commanding his fastball pretty well,” Yonder Alonso said after going 0 for 3. “He had life on his fastball. He was going up in the zone when he wanted but for the most part was down in the zone. He was going to corner to corner. He commands so well, he gets ahead of guys real quick. When you’re living down in the zone, you have to make adjustments as a hitter. It was one of the days where he just painted, man. He was right there and we couldn’t get any good swings on him.
“Not only does he live in the corners, he hits 93, 94 (mph).”
The Padres had only 16 baserunners in three games against the Nationals, and just one walk.
In the six-game homestand that included three games against Pittsburgh, the Padres hit just .135 (25 for 185) and scored only 11 runs.
The Padres entered the game with the lowest batting average in the majors, .220. In the span of seven games, they’ve been two-hit twice – also by Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox – and one-hit once, although they beat Pittsburgh in that game.
In his previous start, Zimmermann gave up five hits in eight shutout innings in a 7-0 win against Philadelphia.
Ian Desmond hit his second two-run home run in as many games for Washington. Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth each had three hits.
Padres left-hander Eric Stults (2-7) lasted only 2 1-3 innings, the shortest of his 85 career starts. He allowed six runs and eight hits, struck out two and walked none.
Desmond hit a two-run homer to center field in the second inning to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead. It was his 13th. He also hit a two-run homer Saturday night to give the Nationals the lead in a game they would lose 4-3 in 11 innings.
Stults allowed three straight singles opening the third, including Adam LaRoche’s RBI base hit. After getting Ryan Zimmerman to line out to first, Stults allowed a single to Desmond to load the bases and was pulled. Tim Stauffer came on and allowed Espinosa’s two-run single.
San Diego’s Seth Smith tripled leading off the eighth and was stranded.
NOTES: Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon missed his second straight start after getting hit in the hand by a smash by Carlos Quentin on Friday night. … The Nationals open a four-game series at San Francisco on Monday night, when RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-4, 3.10) is scheduled to start against RHP Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 3.39). … The Padres are off Monday before opening a three-game series Tuesday at Philadelphia.