- Associated Press
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

HOUSTON — Ryan Zimmerman has come full circle, with a trot around the bases for the Washington Nationals.

The first amateur player ever drafted by the Nationals in 2005, and the only person to wear their jersey during all 15 seasons the team has existed, Zimmerman hit their first World Series home run.

With his deep blast to center field with two outs in the second inning Tuesday night - with Houston Astros starter Gerrit Cole immediately throwing his right arm up knowing the ball was long gone - the 35-year-old Zimmerman also scored the team’s first-ever run in the World Series.

Washington trailed when Zimmerman homered but 20-year-old Juan Soto tied the game with an impressive homer of his own leading off the fourth and added a two-run double an inning later and the Nationals held on for a 5-4 victory.

The only players older than Zimmerman to homer in their first World Series plate appearances were a 38-year-old Barry Bonds in 2002 and Bob Watson in 1981, when he was also 35 but still nearly six months older than Zimmerman is now.

Even after being limited to only 52 games in the regular season - his lowest for a full year - and hitting only .257 with six homers, Zimmerman has started the last seven postseason games. He is hitting .286 (10 of 35) with two homers and six RBIs in the postseason.

Zimmerman holds Expos-Nationals franchise career records for hits, doubles, total bases, homers and RBIs.

He played games for the Nationals in dilapidated RFK Stadium and had the game-ending homer in the first game played at the Nationals’ new stadium when it opened in 2008 - and where Game 3 of this World Series will be played Friday night.

That was one of his 11 career walk-off shots, tied for the second-most in NL history behind Stan Musial’s record.

Now Zimmerman will always lay claim to the first big blast in the Nationals’ first-ever win in the Fall Classic.

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