Zimmermann’s unusual performance a first since Grove
Jordan Zimmermann allowed eight runs over seven innings but still managed to earn the win over the Minnesota Twins last night. It’s been just over two years since a pitcher got the win in a game in which he allowed at least eight runs; the Phillies’Cliff Lee surrendered eight runs over five innings on March 31, 2014 against the Rangers in a 14-10 win.
What was even more unusual was that Zimmermann struck out nine batters in Monday’s matchup. The last pitcher to earn the win while allowing at least eight runs and recording nine or more strikeouts was the Athletics’ Lefty Grove on May 30, 1927 against the Yankees (9 IP, 8 R, 11 SO in a 9-8 victory); those Yankees went on to finish the season 110-44 and swept the Pirates in the World Series. Babe Ruth went 2-for-5 with an RBI and Lou Gehrig was 1-for-4 with two runs batted in off Grove that day.
Zimmermann (6-2, 2.45 ERA) is the first pitcher to win at least six of his first eight starts for Detroit with an ERA under 3.00 since Doyle Alexander in 1987 (7-0, 1.61 ERA). The Tigers traded John Smoltz to acquire Alexander that season.