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WSH@MIA: Zimmermann fans seven over seven innings

WASHINGTON -- With their win on Friday, the Nationals were able to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Cardinals, whose run of success started with that stunning victory in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series. Friday's victory evened this four-game series, which continues with a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Nationals Park on Saturday.

Lance Lynn, facing Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, will take the mound seeking his fourth win in as many starts. Lynn opened his 2013 season with wins in his first five decisions.

He is coming off one of the most dominant starts of his career, too, a seven-inning, three-hit shutout against the Brewers in which he struck out 11. After allowing six first-inning runs in his first two appearances this season, Lynn retooled his pregame routine and found a formula that he'll likely employ again on Saturday.

It's all about getting tired, Lynn explained.

"I think that might be the way to go," said Lynn, who added more pregame running and extra pitches into his warmup. "I have a tendency to be over-amped to start a game and a lot of balls get up in the middle of the zone. [Monday], everything felt good, but also I was in that groove that you need to be in when you start the game."

What he doesn't want changed is his run support. After getting nearly six runs a game from his offense last season, Lynn sits exactly at that average through three starts.

Zimmermann has benefited from recent run support as well, with the Nationals having scored 19 runs in his last two starts combined. In his last start on Monday, Zimmermann pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits in a 9-2 victory over the Marlins. He also went 2-for-3, with two singles and a sacrifice bunt.

Zimmermann's performance was markedly better than his April 9 start at Nationals Park. He tossed the shortest outing of his career by pitching 1 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs on seven hits and left with his team trailing, 5-0, to Miami. The Nationals eventually won the game, 10-7.

"It was a lot better today," Zimmermann said after Monday's outing. "I was getting ahead with the fastball, and when I'm able to get ahead, I can throw everything else when I want, where I want. When I fall behind, that's when I run into trouble."

Cardinals: Adams rested and ready
After starting each of the team's first 16 games, Matt Adams was pulled from the lineup on Friday as manager Mike Matheny loaded it with right-handed hitters against left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Matheny has also been looking for opportunities to rest each of his starting position players during this stretch of playing 20 games in 20 days.

"We're just trying to read how [players feel] as we're going," Matheny said. "It's only been a couple of weeks, but we have a long way to go here before our next day off."

That next-off day comes on May 1.

When Adams returns to the lineup, he'll bring his .355 batting average back into the middle of it. Adams and Yadier Molina have a team-best eight multi-hit games, which was the second-most in the NL heading into Friday. Adams leads the team with 22 hits and six doubles.

"The timing looks good. He's trusting himself," Matheny said of Adams. "He's using the whole field. You notice some more defenses are starting to respect the fact that he can go the other way and he can do it with authority, too. He's learning, and he's getting better."

Nationals: Defensive do-over
Nationals manager Matt Williams had his infielders out on the field early Friday afternoon for extra defensive work a day after the club committed three errors and a handful of other miscues. The Nationals entered the day with an NL-most 19 errors, including seven from Ian Desmond, a Gold Glove finalist each of the last two seasons.

"If I want to be captain of this team, and I do," Desmond said, "I have to be better than that."

The Nationals played a much cleaner game on Friday. Not only did they not commit any errors, but they benefited from some sloppiness in the field by the Cardinals. Two of the three runs scored by the Nationals in their 3-1 win were unearned. It was the Cardinals' second three-error game this season.

Worth Noting:
• Molina will enter Saturday riding a 10-game hitting streak. He has five multi-hit games during that stretch.

• The Cardinals have the best winning percentage (.587) in April and May since the start of the 2000 season.

• Craig Stammen has a 2.93 ERA as a reliever and a 5.08 ERA as a starter. Comments