Nationals sweep Rockies with 4-3 win: Ian Desmond's 7th inning HR lifts Nats

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Fister was hit hard early and the Washington Nationals fell behind 3-0 before rallying for a 4-3 win and a series sweep of the visiting Colorado Rockies. Ian Desmond's 7th inning blast broke up the 3-3 tie when it sailed out to right.

Fister Nation Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister gave up back-to-back singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson in the top of the second and the Colorado Rockies took a 3-0 lead one out later when catcher Michael McKenry hit a towering blast out to the left field bullpen in Nats Park on a 1-0 fastball. 3-0 Rockies.

Anthony Rendon sent a hard-hit liner back up the middle for a leadoff single in the Nationals' fourth and Jayson Werth followed with home run no.7 of 2014, a two-run blast to the Red Porch seats that just cleared the Kaiser Permamente® wall to get the Nats within one, at 3-2.

Bryce Harper kept the fourth alive with a two-out bloop hit to left that fell in fair as he hustled around to second. A wild pitch moved him up 90 ft and a two-out single to left by Ian Desmond brought him home. 3-3 after four.

Matt Belisle took over on the mound for Matzek with one out in the seventh, and two pitches into his relief outing gave up a solo home run to right by Ian Desmond, whose 15th blast of 2014 cleared the GEICO wall for what was originally ruled a triple but was called a home run upon review. 4-3 Nationals.

That's how it ended. 4-3 Nationals for the sweep of the three-game set in D.C.

4. New Home: There was fog hovering over Wrigley Field throughout Doug Fister's start against the Cubs last week during the Nationals' road trip. Washington's 30-year-old right-hander gave up seven hits and three earned runs in the Nats' 5-3 loss in Chicago that time out.

Coming off an outing against the Atlanta Braves in the nation's capital in which he threw eight scoreless innings, Fister, "... wasn't as clean," against the Cubs as Nationals' manager Matt Williams put it after the game.

"Overall, I made some mistakes that they capitalized on and that's basically what it came down to." - Fister on start vs Cubs in Wrigley Field

"Kept us in it though," he said. "We were able to tie it, and he kept us in it. Could have gotten much worse than that. So, he made some pitches when he needed to and we ended up tying it, but not enough tonight."

"Overall," Fister told reporters, "I made some mistakes that they capitalized on and that's basically what it came down to."

That start wrapped up a month of June in which Fister was (3-1) with a 2.38 ERA, a 3.95 FIP, four walks (1.06 BB/9) and 14 Ks (3.71 K/9) in 34 IP in which opposing hitters put up a .239/.280/.384 line.

After the loss to the Cubs, Fister, who was acquired in a 3-for-1 deal with the Detroit Tigers this winter, was (6-2) with a 2.83 ERA, 3.99 FIP, six walks (0.85 BB/9) and 37 Ks (5.23 K/9) in 63 ⅔ IP for the Nationals.

His eleventh start of the 2014 campaign was delayed by an impending storm in D.C. Fister was set to face a Colorado Rockies team he'd seen just once before in his six major league seasons.

In a June 2012 start for the Tigers, Fister threw six scoreless innings against the Rockies at home in Comerica Park.

In his new home, Fister was (4-0) in four starts before tonight's, with a 1.93 ERA, 2.74 FIP, three walks (0.96 BB/9) and 19 Ks (6.11 K/9) in 28 IP, over which he held visiting teams to a .185/.229/.293 line.

He popped the first two Colorado batters he faced tonight up for two quick outs...

1st: Charlie Blackmon sent a fly ball out to Jayson Werth in right. Drew Stubbs popped out to Denard Span in center. Justin Morneau stepped in with the bases empty and two out and popped to short left, where Ian Desmond made a diving catch to end an eight-pitch inning.

2nd: Troy Tulowitzki lined to left on a 1-1 fastball for a leadoff single in the Rockies' second. Corey Dickerson was first-pitch swinging and he lined to center for the second straight hit. Ryan Wheeler lined out to Denard Span in center for out no.1, but catcher Michael McKenry hit a 1-0 fastball out to left in the next at bat for a 3-0 lead. DJ LeMahieu grounded to first for out no. 2. Tyler Matzek's groundout to short ended a 16-pitch frame. 24 total.

3rd: Charlie Blackmon flew out to center to start the third. Drew Stubbs ripped a one-out single by a lunging Ryan Zimmerman at third. A line drive to left by Justin Morneau fell in for the second straight hit. Stubbs took third when Troy Tulowitzki flew out to center for out no.2. Corey Dickerson stepped in with runners on the corners but fell behind 0-2 quickly and K'd swinging on a 74 mph bender. 16-pitch inning, 40 overall after three.

4th: Ryan Wheeler singled to start the fourth, but he was forced out at second on a Michael McKenry grounder to third. The Nationals couldn't turn the double play on that one, but they got it right when DJ. LeMahieu grounded to Ian Desmond short to start an inning-ending 6-4-3. Five pitch inning. 45 total after four.

5th: Tyler Matzek grounded weakly to first to start the Rockies' fifth, but Charlie Blackman doubled to right on a 1-1 curve in the next at bat. Drew Stubbs took a 1-2 two-seamer for a called strike three and out no.2 and Justin Morneau sent a line drive to center that Denard Span caught for out no.3. 10-pitch fifth. 55 total.

6th: Bryce Harper charged a low liner off Troy Tulowitzki's bat and made a sliding catch for out no.1 of the Rockies' sixth. Corey Dickerson K'd swinging at a 1-2 curve. Ryan Wheeler's line drive to center found its way into Denard Span's glove and Fister was through six on 69 pitches after a 14-pitch frame.

7th: Michael McKenry took a 2-2 change for a called strike three. Ryan Zimmerman dove for a sharp grounder to third off DJ LeMahieu's bat and threw the Rockies' infielder out from his knees. A called strike three on the opposing pitcher ended an 11-pitch inning by Fister, who was up to 80 pitches overall...

Doug Fister's Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 80 P, 56 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

3. 9 Picks later: Nine picks after Stephen Strasburg went no.1 overall to the Washington Nationals in the 2009 Draft, the Colorado Rockies selected left-hander Tyler Matzek out of Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, California with the 11th overall pick.

Matzek was (29-29) with a 4.34 ERA over 537 ⅔ IP in five minor league seasons before the Rockies' now-23-year-old southpaw was called up to make his MLB debut on June 11th in Coors Field in what Rockies' manager Walt Weiss called a "masterful performance" in an 9-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

"'He had an explosive fastball,'" Weiss told the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders, "'and his slider looked like it disappeared. He threw some good changeups and commanded the pitch. He had it all working.'"

In four starts overall since being called up to pitch in the Rockies' rotation, the 6'3'' lefty was (1-2) with a 4.24 ERA, a 3.40 FIP, six walks (2.31 BB/9) and 12 Ks (4.63 K/9) in 23 ⅓ IP before tonight.

With help from a slick DP by DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki, Matzek completed a scoreless 19-pitch opening frame in spite of the fact that he gave up two singles in the first in Nationals Park.

Ryan Zimmerman walked to start the Nats' second, but was doubled up on a 3-6 DP, when Bryce Harper hit a one-hopper to first that Justin Morneau snatched up before stepping on first and throwing to second to get Zimmerman. The play was challenged by Nats' skipper Matt Williams but the call on the field was upheld. A line drive to right by Ian Desmond ended a 14-pitch inning. 33 total after two.

Matzek needed just nine pitches to retire the Nats in order in the third, leaving him at 42 total after three.

Anthony Rendon buzzed Matzek's tower with a leadoff line drive to center in the home-half of the fourth, then stole second with Jayson Werth at the plate. Werth's two-run home run to left-center got the Nationals within one, 3-2.

Bryce Harper hit a jam-shot out to left that fell in for a two-out double. A wild pitch from Matzek moved Harper to third, and Ian Desmond brought him in with a single through short that tied it up at 3-3. Matzek held it there and completed a 30-pitch frame. 72 total after four.

The Rockies' lefty bounced back from his 30-pitch fourth with a quick, nine-pitch fifth that left him at 81 pitches.

Another nine-pitch frame in the sixth left him at 90 even. After striking Bryce Harper out in the first at bat of the Nats' seventh, Matzek was lifted...

• Tyler Matzek's Line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 71 S, 6/4 GO/FO.

2. Turning Point: The Nationals entered tonight's game on a four-game winning streak, but they'd done that before, five times actually, without ever winning a fifth. The Rockies took an early lead on a Michael McKenry home run in the second, but the Nats rallied in the fourth with Jayson Werth hitting a two-run home run and Ian Desmond connecting for an RBI single that tied things up at 3-3.

1. The Wrap-Up: Matt Belisle took over in the bottom of the seventh after Tyler Matzek struck Bryce Harper out in his final at bat of the night. Ian Desmond took Belisle's second pitch of the game for a ride to right, bouncing a fly ball off the top of the GEICO wall for what was originally ruled a triple but reversed upon review. HR no.15 for Desmond.

Tyler Clippard came on in the eighth and gave up a two-out single before he struck Troy Tulowitzki out to end a 16-pitch frame.

Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth with a one-run lead looking for save no.20 of 2014. Corey Dickerson K'd swinging at a 93 mph 1-2 heater. Ryan Wheeler got sawed off and lined out to first. Michael McKenry worked the count full, fouled off a few... and walked. DJ LeMahieu stepped in with one on and two out and lined to right, moving McKenry around to third. Pinch hitter Josh Rutledge came up next and worked the count full... before popping out to end it. Ballgame. 4-3 Nationals.

Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!!

Nationals now 46-38

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