"I was excited. It's a cool accomplishment," Zimmermann said. "I was able to put two good games together. I got two wins out of it."
May was rough for Zimmermann, who had a 5.06 ERA during the month. In his first start in June, he looked like the pitcher who won 19 games for Washington last year, allowing five hits in eight innings and striking out four. It helped that he threw his slider for strikes.
On Sunday, Zimmermann had arguably the best start of his career, pitching a two-hit shutout in a 6-0 victory over the Padres.
Zimmermann retired the first 16 hitters he faced and recorded seven strikeouts before Alexi Amarista singled to right field to record the Padres' first hit. Zimmermann struck out a career-high 12 batters.
Zimmermann is the second pitcher in franchise history and the first since Jeff Fassero on June 29, 1996, to pitch a shutout during which he allowed two or fewer hits and struck out 11 or more batters. Zimmermann is the first Major League pitcher to accomplish this feat since Shelby Miller did so against the Rockies on May 10 of last year after he allowed just one hit and struck out 13.
"I'm throwing the fastball and keeping it down in the zone. That's been the big thing," Zimmermann said. "My previous starts, I was a little wild and up in the zone. That's when I get hit hard. The last couple of starts, I've been working down in the zone. The offspeed has been really good. That's the key."
According to the Bill James Game Score, one metric for measuring dominant pitching performances, Zimmermann's outing ranked as the best in Nationals history (2005-present) with a score of 95.
Zimmermann, who was named the NL Pitcher of the Month in July 2012, is the seventh Nationals player to win an NL Player of the Week award, and earns the ninth such honor for the organization.
Zimmermann joins third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (July 16-22, 2012; Aug. 15-21, 2011; July 30-Aug. 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 7-13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (July 27-Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 25-31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 17-20, 2008), and first baseman Nick Johnson (May 31-June 6, 2005) as honorees.