The Washington Nationals are doing so well of late that even when they lose they nearly win. Down 6-2 entering the ninth, the Nats scored two and threatened for me by loading the bases before eventually falling 6-4 to the Colorado Rockies.
Looking to sweep the Rockies and tie a season high with their fifth win in a row, the Nats scored the game’s first run when Denard Span crossed home on a throwing error by DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies answered in the bottom half of the inning against the struggling Stephen Strasburg (7-8), taking the lead when two doubles and two singles made the score 3-1.
The Nats made it 3-2 in the fifth when Span singled home Danny Espinosa, but an inning later, the Rockies tacked on one more against Strasburg when right fielder Charlie Blackmon singled home catcher Michael McKenry.
Strasburg’s day finished after just 5 1/3. He surrendered four earned runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out five. It was the second game in a row where Strasburg has allowed four runs. Strasburg has lost six of his last eight decisions with an ERA that currently sits at 3.67 after Wednesday outing.
Opposing Strasburg, Jorge de la Rosa (11-6) pitched 7 1/3 innings while allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits and striking out 11, and he has now allowed two or fewer runs in his last four starts. His 11 strikeouts came within one of tying his career high of 12 against the Marlins in 2009.
The Nats scored two in the ninth off Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins with RBI singles by Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. After loading the bases, Ian Desmond struck out after fighting off multiple 2-2 pitches.
The Nats were without Ryan Zimmerman, who earlier in the day was placed on the 15-day disabled list with strained hamstring. For the day, Rendon started at third while Espinosa played second. Span was huge offensively for the afternoon, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored, an RBI, and a stolen base. The Nats centerfielder has now raised his batting line to .282/.333/.393. Bryce Harper and Scott Hairston were the only Nats regulars who did not record a hit in the game while recent call up Zach Walters went 1-for-1 with a pinch hit single in the ninth. Walters also scored a run on Werth’s single.
After a day off on Thursday, the Nats resume their 9-game road trip with a stop in Cincinnati. Tanner Roark (9-6) is scheduled to pitch against Alfredo Simon (12-4). Simon was named as a replacement on the NL All Star squad last week.