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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Former Virginia third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has earned the National League’s 2009 Silver Slugger Award at third base, as announced Thursday by Major League Baseball. Zimmerman is just the second member of the Washington Nationals to earn a Silver Slugger, joining Alfonso Soriano in 2006.

It marks Zimmerman’s second major honor in as many days. On Wednesday, Zimmerman captured his first-ever Gold Glove Award. He joins the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp as the only two National Leaguers to claim both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in 2009.

Silver Slugger winners, presented by Louisville Slugger, are voted upon by the managers and coaches of all Major League Baseball teams and recognize the top offensive producer at each position in both the American and National Leagues.

Zimmerman had a career year for the Nationals. He made his first All-Star appearance, hitting .292 with 33 home runs and 106 RBI. He also hit 37 doubles and scored 110 runs. He ranked among NL leaders in runs (fourth), total bases (fifth, 320), RBI (sixth), extra-base hits (tied for eighth, 73), home runs (10th) and hits (10th, 178).

Early in the season, Zimmerman went on a career-best 30-game hitting streak. He joined Rico Carty and George Sisler as the only players since 1900 to hit in 30 consecutive games that early in a season. The 30-gamer was MLB’s longest hit streak since Moises Alou’s 30-game run in 2007, and the longest notched by a third baseman since George Brett also hit safely in 30 consecutive games from July 18 to Aug. 18, 1980.

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