UVA alum Ryan Zimmerman homers in first World Series at bat

Ryan ZimmermanRyan Zimmerman had waited a long time for this moment – his first World Series at bat.

The first draft pick of the Washington Nationals – fourth pick, first round, in 2005 – Zimmerman was a September callup that year, and never looked back.

Five of his first six seasons ended with the Nats in last place, then four of the next six ended in the NLDS.

Zim had played in 1,689 regular-season games and 29 postseason games, but never in a World Series.

How appropriate, then, that it was Zimmerman who hit the franchise’s first World Series homer.

“I’ll be honest with you, my eyes got a little watery for him,” Nats manager Davey Martinez said. “He waited a long time to be in this position, and for him to hit that first home run and put us on the board was awesome.”

And it wasn’t just a tear-jerking moment. The homer, 413 feet, straightaway center, was a key momentum-changer for the Nationals, after ace Max Scherzer gave up a two-spot in the bottom of the first, in a laborious 26-pitch inning.

The blast was all the more striking in that it came off Houston ace Gerrit Cole, who hadn’t lost since May 22, and had posted a 0.40 ERA in three postseason starts.

“For me, everything change(d),” Nats slugger Juan Soto said, acknowledging that the dugout was “a little bit down” after the Astros had broken through in the first.

“After that homer, everybody think(s) we’ve got a chance, after we hit the homer against a guy like that, everybody think(s) we’ve got a chance now. He’s been doing really well, but he make(s) a mistake, so he going to make it again, and we’ll get it.”

Soto, later, would tie the game with a solo homer in the fourth, and then add a two-run double, the eventual winning runs, in the fifth.

At the end of the day, another 1-0 day for the Nationals. It started with the Original National going deep in his first World Series AB.

Nice moment.

“First at-bat, to hit a home run and run around the bases, you’re kind of almost floating around the bases. To be able to do that is obviously what you work for. It’s what not only you sacrifice for, but what your family sacrifices for. That’s why you play the game, to play on the biggest stage,” Zimmerman said.

Story by Chris Graham

         
 

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