Scoring 10 runs without ever leading a game is hard enough. Walking off the field beaten after more than four hours is even worse. Put together, it will be a long flight back east for the Washington Nationals, who dropped an 11-10, 11-inning decision to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday in the finale of a four-game set at Coors Field.
The Nationals continued feasting on Colorado’s beleaguered pitching staff, plating double-digits in runs for the third straight day, but a shaky start from Edwin Jackson and a late-game strikeout binge at the plate cost Washington the chance to win the series outright.
Marco Scutaro had the game-winning hit for the Rockies, dropping a single to right field to score Jonathan Herrera with the winning run and make a loser of Craig Stammen (3-1), pitching into his third inning of work. Herrera reached with a one-out double into the left-center gap and advanced to third on a long flyout by Dexter Fowler. Scutaro then ended the game to gain a split for the Rockies.
The way the game started, it never looked like heading for extra innings. Nationals starter Edwin Jackson again came out of the gate with less than his best stuff, in a similar fashion to his last start in Baltimore. The difference Thursday was he never found a groove — Colorado’s first eight batters reached base against Jackson, who gave up five runs and may have been lucky to avoid more. Tyler Colvin provided the big blow, pounding a three-run homer to kickstart a big day at the plate for him. Starting in place of Michael Cuddyer, Colvin went 4-for-6, drove in five runs and finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
Colorado tacked on two more runs in the second inning, putting the Nats in a 7-0 hole. On a getaway day, that might have been all she wrote, but this is Coors Field. Washington got back to within 7-5 with a five-run third, Michael Morse answering Colvin’s three-run bomb with a similar shot that scraped the back of the center field fence.
Tom Gorzelanny came on to relieve Jackson in the fourth inning, and didn’t fare much better. A Colvin triple drove in another run, and after Washington again turned on the bats, plating four in the fifth to tie the game at 9-9, Gorzelanny surrendered the lead in the bottom half thanks to a rally begun by hitting pitcher Josh Roenicke with a pitch.
That run looked like it might hold up, as the Colorado bullpen did its job until the top of the ninth inning. Bryce Harper greeted Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt by blasting a long game-tying home run into the Rockies bullpen to send the game into extra frames.
Champ of the Game: Michael Morse. The Beast reached base three times to cap a nine-hit series and also scored a pair of runs. Yes, it’s Coors Field, but between Morse and Ryan Zimmerman, the middle of the Nationals order woke up this week and provided fans a look at what the lineup can do when clicking on all cylinders. For the Rockies, Colvin gets the nod for his career day.
Chump of the Game: Edwin Jackson. The Nationals have only allowed more than 10 runs in a game twice this season — both in games that Jackson started and gave up a five-spot in the fifth inning. If he could have limited the Rockies to that, it would have been a nice, bullpen-saving performance. But the bleeding wouldn’t stop, and Jackson ended up surrendering eight runs on 10 hits and two walks in just 3.1 innings. For the Rockies, starting pitcher Josh Outman did not react how you’d want when given a seven-run lead, allowing five in the next frame and finishing the day with only three innings pitched.
Next game: Friday night, 7:35 PM ET at Turner Field. The top two teams in the National League East square off in the opener of a three-game set, Washington’s Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.09 ERA) facing Atlanta’s Randall Delgado (4-8, 4.52).