SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman did it again Tuesday night, scorching a liner into center field in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 30 games.
Zimmerman used a similar approach Tuesday against Matt Cain as he did against Randy Johnson on Monday. He lined a single right back up the middle on a 1-1 count, putting the suspense on hold for another day.
"I'm not taking it any different than any other at-bat," said Zimmerman of his third consecutive first-inning single during the streak. "I think I had a pretty good at-bat my second time up. Like I said, I'm just trying to keep things simple up there."
The first-inning single marked the 14th time Zimmerman has gotten a hit in the first inning during the streak. With the hit, Zimmerman matched George Brett's 30-game hitting streak for the longest by a third baseman since Brett did it in 1980.
Even as the hits keep coming, Zimmerman has found it hard to celebrate the streak because of the Nationals' woes on the field. Zimmerman said after the Nats' 9-7 loss to the Giants that he would've given up the two hits and the streak for a win.
"I'm disappointed about the team. I could careless about all the individual stuff," Zimmerman said. "The way I look at it, my hits help put us in a position to win, but right now we're not winning, so it's disappointing."
Despite the Nationals' 10-21 start, Zimmerman has continued to rack up the hits. In his past four games, the third baseman has hit .526 (10-for-19) with three homers and six RBIs.
As Zimmerman continues to hit, he inches closer to Willie Keeler's National League record of 45 in 1896-97 as a member of the old Baltimore Orioles.
On Tuesday, Zimmerman became only the seventh player since 2000 to hit in 30 consecutive games, joining Moises Alou (2007), Willy Taveras (2006), Chase Utley (2006), Jimmy Rollins (2005/06), Albert Pujols (2003) and Luis Castillo (2002).
Prior to Tuesday's game, Nationals manager Manny Acta said it would mean a lot to the fans and the organization if Zimmerman could keep the streak alive until the team returns home Friday.
"It's been fantastic and I can't imagine what it would be like if he can get up there with [Ty] Cobb and [Pete] Rose," Acta said, referring to the legends who racked up hitting streaks of 35 and 44 games, respectively. "It would be nice to be able to go back home with the streak alive. It would be especially nice for the fans."
With one hit Wednesday against Barry Zito, Zimmerman and the streak will head home for a four-game set against the Phillies.
Jayson Addcox is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.