Zimmermann aims to become 12-game winner as Nats battle Brewers

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann tries to become the National League's first 12-game winner on Monday night when the Washington Nationals host the Milwaukee Brewers to open a four-game series at Nationals Park.

Zimmermann won 12 games in 32 starts last season and reached win No. 11 this year on June 26 with a 3-2 defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks, against whom he allowed three hits and two runs in seven innings.

He was 8-3 after a 9-6 loss at Baltimore on May 29, but went 3-0 in five June starts while dropping his earned right average slightly from 2.37 to 2.28.

He's won both career starts against the Brewers and has held them to a stingy 1.42 ERA across 12 2/3 innings, and is 8-0 in nine home starts this season with an even more stingy 1.09 ERA.

Overall, in 114 2/3 innings of work in 2013, he's allowed 33 runs on 88 hits while striking out 80 batters and walking 17.

For Milwaukee, righty Yovani Gallardo makes his third start since a stretch in which he won three of four starts between May 31-June 15.

He had consecutive scoreless outings against Miami and Cincinnati to pick up wins No. 5 and 6 on the season, combining to give up just seven hits in 14 innings with nine strikeouts and three walks.

He got a no-decision in the Brewers' 7-4 loss at Houston on June 20, then was a 5-4 loser to the Chicago Cubs on June 26 after giving up five runs on eight hits in four innings of work.

Gallardo is 4-3 in eight road starts in 2013.

On Sunday in Pittsburgh, Russell Martin delivered a pinch-hit single in the 14th inning to lift the Pirates to their ninth straight win against the Brewers, 2-1.

Gaby Sanchez started the inning with an infield single that Rickie Weeks could not corral. Sanchez stole second and, after Jordy Mercer walked, scored on Martin's base hit.

Francisco Rodriguez (1-1) pitched out of trouble in the 13th but could not escape the 14th, taking the loss.

In New York, Gio Gonzalez capped a solid June with another effective start and the Nationals battered Zack Wheeler early and often in his Citi Field debut en route to a 13-2 thumping of the Mets.

Gonzalez (5-3) limited New York to three hits over seven shutout innings while fanning seven to earn his second straight win. The lefty didn't allow more than two earned runs in any of his six starts (40 1/3 innings) this month.

The Nationals received solo homers from Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth in putting up five runs on Wheeler (1-1), with the highly touted Mets phenom lasting just 4 2/3 innings in his first home appearance.

Each position player knocked in a run for Washington, with Werth scoring four times, Denard Span adding three hits and Kurt Suzuki contributing a two-run homer to a six-run eighth inning that emphatically locked up a series victory.

"It was nice to see the bats come alive," said Washington manager Davey Johnson. "Will make that trip home a lot shorter."

The Nationals won five of eight games with the Brewers in 2012.