A massive line of storms struck Space Coast Stadium in the top of the eighth inning yesterday, sending everyone fleeing for cover and bringing an abrupt halt to the Nationals' 9-3 victory over the Braves. But before we all got to experience the end of the world, there were several highlights.

Such as ...

Jordan Zimmermann once again looked mighty sharp on the mound. The right-hander entered this game having not allowed a hit since the very first batter of his previous start, and he didn't allow any today until Andrelton Simmons singled to left in the top of the fourth.

Thus ended a stretch in which Zimmermann recorded 27 outs between allowing hits. Yes, you read that correctly. He essentially threw a no-hitter, spread out among two games.

That, of course, counts for nothing in March. But Zimmermann does believe it means something.

"It means I'm close," he said. "Obviously, it feels good to get outs, and to hit 27 in a row, that means I'm doing something right. I feel good. I'm ready to go. I feel strong and I can't wait for the season."

Zimmermann is due to make one more exhibition start -- Friday against the Yankees at Nationals Park -- and he hopes the conditions for that outing (in a major-league stadium, with a large crowd, against a good lineup) will help transition him into regular-season mode.

"For sure," he said. "Hopefully, there's going to be a lot of people there and I'll get on the game mound and have a regular game for a change. Obviously, it doesn't mean anything. But still, the atmosphere and getting out there is going to be good."