Despite their 48-63 record - the worst in the American League - a few players are having solid seasons, like Billy Butler, who went 3-for-4 with a single, double and his 23rd home run in Thursday's victory, the third straight for the Royals.
Butler crossed home plate three times and drove in three runs for the Royals, giving him 72 on the season. The first baseman/DH is knocking in runs at a pace that should surpass his career high of 95 from last season.
The KC win was the first of a four game series at Camden Yards, the O's loss dropping them 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees and just 1/2 game ahead of third place Tampa Bay.
In Washington's 5-0 blanking of Houston, Zimmermann worked six innings, gave up three hits, didn't issue any walks and fanned 11, giving him 110 strikeouts on the year.
It was his sixth win in his last nine starts and the eighth time he's allowed one or fewer runs in his last nine turns on the mound, each of them at least six innings.
Zimmermann's 2.35 ERA is second in the NL among starters behind San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong's 2.27.
The Nationals' win was their sixth straight, completing a four game sweep of Houston, leaving them 4 1/2 in front of Atlanta, who had the night off.
Washington has played the Astros eight times, coming away with wins in seven of those games. The Nationals take to the road for their next six games, starting with three in Arizona followed by a three game series with NL West leader, San Francisco.