Anthony Rendon played second base in a handful of games between Little League and early June, when the Washington Nationals wedged him into the open spot in their infield. He found the difference trivial. “It’s the same stuff,” Rendon said. “It’s still baseball. The bases just got bigger.” Rendon views baseball like a kid, which he was not long ago, unburdened by much of anything, least of all expectation.

Rendon, a 22-year-old with a swing out of an instructional video, smacked another three hits Wednesday night as the Nationals edged the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2, at Nationals Park. Jordan Zimmermann followed a first-inning debacle with six masterful frames to become the first National League pitcher to reach 11 wins. On his second day back from the minors, Tyler Moore bashed a game-tying homer in the fourth. When Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 21st save, the Nationals had eked back above .500.

After Zimmermann allowed two runs in the first, he yielded one walk, one hit and no runs the rest of the night. His dominance enabled the Nationals to overcome their immediate 2-0 deficit. At the center of their attack was Rendon, the rookie who has given a new dimension to the top of the Nationals’ lineup.

“You can kind of tell when a guy’s going to be able to hit,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “He’s one of those guys.”

Last year, Bryce Harper came from the minors and lifted the Nationals with relentless energy and devastating power. Rendon, the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft, is a far different kind of player, more craftsman than marvel. Harper’s blunt force demanded constant attention. Rendon may go unnoticed until an examination of the box score reveals the damage he inflicted at the plate.

“That’s where I feel the most comfortable,” Rendon said. “That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I like to hit.”