Fires in the Black Forest south of Denver darkened the skies around Coors Field in Colorado tonight where the Rockies and visiting Washington Nationals played the second game of a three-game set while breathing in smoke and ash-filled mile-high air. Nats' left fielder Jeff Kobernus had his bright red socks pulled high to meet his gray away pants just below the knee as he stepped to the plate with one down in the top of the first. The 24-year-old infielder singled to left off left-hander Jorge De La Rosa for the Nationals' first hit of the game, but he was caught stealing by Rockies' catcher Yorvit Torrealba after Ryan Zimmerman K'd swinging for the strike'em out part of an inning-ending strike'em out, throw'em out double play. 0-0 after a half in Colorado.
Adam LaRoche missed a toss to first on a one-out bunt to the pitcher by Jonathan Herrera, gifting the Rockies' infielder an extra base, but 30-year-old right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, in his Nationals' debut, retired the next two batters in quick order in a scoreless, 12-pitch bottom of the first.
Ian Desmond entered tonight's game with a 13-game hit streak over which he was 17 for 50 with four doubles and two home runs. He worked a 10-pitch, two-out walk out of Jorge De La Rosa in the top of the second, but was stranded on base when Anthony Rendon grounded into a force to end the Rockies' lefty's second scoreless inning of work. A fly to center, pop to short and line drive to third got Ross Ohlendorf through a quick, nine-pitch bottom of the second in Coors Field, after which he was at 21 pitches overall.
Jhonatan Solano, aka "Onion," doubled to left on a 1-1 curve from Jorge De La Rosa in the first at bat of the third. Ross Ohlendorf failed to get a bunt down, then struck out for the first out of the inning. A grounder to the mound by Denard Span left Solano in no man's land off second and the Nats' catcher was run down and tagged for out no.2 of the Nationals' third. Jeff Kobernus lined to left for what looked for a minute like a two-out hit, but a diving catch by Carlos Gonzalez ended a scoreless top of the inning. 0-0 in Colorado. Ian Desmond made a diving catch on a line drive to short off Yorvit Torrealba's bat. Jorge De La Rosa grounded weakly to second. Dexter Fowler's fly to Jeff Kobernus in left ended Ross Ohlendorf's third scoreless after 12 pitches. 33 overall.
Ryan Zimmerman worked a nine-pitch walk out of Jorge De La Rosa in the top of the fourth. A weak grounded to the mound by Jayson Werth moved Zimmerman into scoring position at second. A low 2-2 fastball outside caught Adam LaRoche looking for out no.2. Ian Desmond stepped in with two down, and took a 2-1 fastball to right for a two-out opposite field single that drove Zimmerman in and extended Desi's hit streak. 1-0 Nats. 14 games for Desmond. But the Nationals' shortstop was caught stealing in the next at bat. 1-0 Nats after three and a half. Ross Ohlendorf rocked into his delivery and popped Jonathan Herrera up on the first pitch of the Rockies' fourth. Ian Desmond had a short hop bounce off him, but recovered and threw to first in time to retire the 10th straight batter to step in against Ohlendorf. A 2-2 curve to Troy Tulowitzki caught the Colorado infielder looking for the final out of the fourth. 1-0 Nationals in Coors Field. 10-pitch inning, 43 total after 4.0 scoreless by Ohlendorf.
The Nats' 7-8 and 9 hitters went down in order in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 5th that had Jorge De La Rosa at 83 pitches overall. A fly to left by Todd Helton made it 12-straight set down by Ross Ohlendorf. That streak ended with a one-out walk to Nolan Arenado and of course the free pass was followed by a home r--, uh, fly to center by Tyler Colvin that Denard Span caught. Two down. A Yorvit Torrealba grounder to third ended the Rockies' fifth and the fifth scoreless frame by Nats' starter Ross Ohlendorf. 21-pitch inning, 64 overall after five.
• Jeff Kobernus walked with one down in the Nats' sixth. Ryan Zimmerman went up 3-0 as Jorge De La Rosa threw seven straight balls to two batters, but the Rockies' starter battled back to a full count before surrendering an RBI double to left-center. Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez converged on Zimmerman's fly and collided at the wall, but neither of the outfielders was able to make the catch. Zimmerman's 9th two-base hit of 2013. 2-0 Nationals when Kobernus scored. Adam Ottavino took over for the Rockies with Jayson Werth at the plate. Zimmerman took third when Werth grounded out to first for out no.2. An intentional walk to Adam LaRoche brought Ian Desmond up with two on and two out. A wild pitch allowed LaRoche to take second, and both runners scored when Desmond lined one back up the middle for an RBI single that made it 4-0 Nats after five and a half.
Dexter Fowler was the third Rockie of the night to reach base when he walked with one down in the home-half of the sixth, taking the second free pass of the night from Ross Ohlendorf. Fowler was forced out at second on a slow-roller from Jonathan Herrera to Anthony Rendon. Carlos Gonzalez stepped in with a runner on first and two down. Herrera stole second on a high 0-2 fastball, and scored when CarGo doubled off the wall in left-center. 4-1 Nationals. Troy Tulowitzki sent a long to left... but just foul, just missing a home run that would have pulled the Rockies to within one. Tulowitzki then flew out to center to end the sixth on Ross Ohlendorf's 89th pitch.
Roger Bernadina walked in a one-out pinch hit appearance in the top of the seventh. Ryan Zimmermann took a fastball outside for a called strike three and out no.2 and Jayson Werth lined out to second to end the top of the inning in Colorado...
• Ross Ohlendorf's line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 89 P, 54 S, 5/6 GO/FO.
Nationals' lefty Ian Krol took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh and got the first batter he faced, Todd Helton, looking with a 94 mph 1-2 heater that was called strike three. Nolan Arenado grounded weakly to Ryan Zimmerman at third for out no.2. Tyler Colvin fell behind 0-2 and watched another 94 mph heater all the way in. Called strike three. 4-1 Nats after seven.
Chris Volstad took over for the Rockies in the eighth. Adam LaRoche hit a leadoff double off the right field wall to start the top of the inning. Ian Desmond's groundout to the right side of the infield moved LaRoche over to third and the Nats' first baseman scored on an Anthony Rendon double to center. 5-1 Nats. Tyler Clippard came out to pitch the bottom of the eighth. DJ LeMahieu popped up into foul territory off third, where Ryan Zimmerman made the catch while leaning into the dugout. Wilin Rosario grounded out to third for out no.2. Dexter Fowler sliced a one-hopper to Zimmerman for out no.3.
Manny Corpas came out for Colorado in the top of the ninth and walked Denard Span in the first at bat before getting a double play grounder from Roger Bernadina. Doubling up Span and the Shark = Impressive. Ryan Zimmerman walked with two down. Jayson Werth grounded to third to end the top of the ninth. Rafael Soriano came out in a non-save situation in the ninth. Jonathan Herrera lined an opposite field single to left to start the inning. Carlos Gonzalez K'd swinging at an 0-2 slider inside. ONE!!! Troy Tulowitzki worked the count full and flew to center for out no.2. Todd Helton fell behind 0-2 quickly and went down chasing to end the game. Ballgame.
Nationals now 32-32