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Nationals 15-6 over Rockies: Nats snap six-game losing streak in series opener

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Jordan Zimmermann wasn't himself, but the Washington Nationals took advantage of walks and wild pitches from the Colorado Rockies and snapped their six-game losing streak with a 15-6 win in the series opener in Coors Field.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

5. Zimmermann in Coors Field: Before taking the mound tonight in Coors Field, for the series opener of the three-game set with the Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was winless in six outings, going back to a July 11th win over the Baltimore Orioles in which he gave up nine hits and four runs in five innings of work.

In the six winless outings that followed, the 29-year-old starter has put up a 3.68 ERA, six walks (1.47 BB/9) and 33 Ks (8.10 K/9) in 36 ⅔ IP in which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .224/.261/.351 line.

"It's a function of who you're facing sometimes too. Clayton [Kershaw] was pretty good tonight again and so [Zimmermann] gave us a chance, kept us in the game, gave us a chance to win." -Matt Williams on Jordan Zimmermann's start vs the Dodgers last week

The Nationals won the first two outings over that stretch, but have lost four straight starts, in spite of the fact that Zimmermann gave up just two runs total in the last two, losses to the Rockies and the L.A. Dodgers.

"It's a function of who you're facing sometimes too," Matt Williams told reporters after the loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine.

"Clayton was pretty good tonight again and so [Zimmermann] gave us a chance, kept us in the game, gave us a chance to win."

Tonight, Zimmermann was facing the Rockies for the second time in two weeks, after holding them to one run on four hits in 6 ⅔ innings when Colorado visited the nation's capital.

Zimmermann, with losses in three of the last six games, fell to (8-8) on the year with a 3.34 ERA, a 3.23 FIP, 26 walks (1.58 BB/9) and 114 Ks (6.92 K/9) in 148 ⅓ IP over which opposing hitters have put up a .266/.299/.361 line.

After taking the mound with a 2-0 lead, his outing started with an infield single by Jose Reyes, who took second one out later on a botched pickoff throw to first, and scored when Carlos Gonzalez hit a 94 mph 1-1 fastball to right for a game-tying two-run blast, 2-2.

One out later, with Nolan Arenado on third after doubling and moving up, Rockies' catcher Nick Hundley hit a two-hopper to short that Ian Desmond bobbled. E:6. 3-2 Rockies. 24-pitch first.

With two outs in the Rockies' second and Jose Reyes behind in an 0-2 count, he ripped into a 93 mph fastball and hit a solo home run to right to make it 4-2. 15-pitch frame. 39 total.

Zimmermann came back out in a 4-4 game in the third, and retired the Rockies in order, striking out the side in an 18-pitch frame. 57 total.

Zimmermann worked around a one-out walk in an 11-pitch bottom of the fourth that left him at 68 pitches.

Jose Reyes singled to start the Rockies' fifth, but got himself thrown out sliding past the bag on a throw in by Jayson WerthDJ LeMahieu lined a single to right in the next at bat and took second when Bryce Harper made an ill-advised attempt to throw him out at first and threw wide of the bag. LeMahieu scored one out later on an RBI double to right by Nolan Arenado. 6-5 Nats. 21-pitch frame. 89 total.

Zimmermann left a 1-2 curve up for Kyle Parker in the first at bat of the Rockies' sixth and Parker clobbered it. 6-6.

Pinch hitter Matt McBride singled to right with one down, but was stranded two outs later. 11-pitch frame. 100 total.

• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 3 HRs, 100 P, 71 S, 8/4 GO/FO.

4. Hale Storm: Acquired from the Atlanta Braves along with right-hander Gus Schlosser in a late January 2015 trade for minor leaguers Jose Briceno (C/1B) and Chris O'Dowd (C/OF), right-handed starter David Hale, an '09 3rd Round pick out Marietta, GA and Princeton University, was called up by the Rockies in late May, but after making eight starts and nine appearances, over which he was (3-4) with a 5.69 ERA, a 5.23 FIP, 10 walks (1.84 BB/9), 36 Ks (6.61 K/9) and a .294/.330/.533 line against in 49 innings (47 ⅓ as a starter) he was placed on the DL with a left groin strain on July 10th.

Hale returned to the Rockies' rotation tonight to take on the Nationals in the first game of Washington's three-game set in Denver, Colorado's Coors Field.

He was facing the Nats for the first time as a Rockie, but he held them scoreless through 6 ⅓ innings pitched as a Brave, with Nationals' hitters putting up a combined .238/.333/.333 line.

Hale's second career start against Washington began with two quick outs, but Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk and Yunel Escobar, with some help from home plate ump Gary Cederstrom, worked the count full before hitting a two-run home run to right to make it 2-0 early in the series opener. 27-pitch frame.

Ryan Zimmerman doubled to start the second, after the Rockies took a 3-2 lead, but was stranded at third three outs and four pitches later. Six-pitch frame. 33 total after two.

Danny Espinosa doubled and Bryce Harper walked for the second time tonight with one down in the Nationals' third, and Yunel Escobar came through again, with an RBI single this time that cut the Rockies' lead in half. 4-3.

Harper took third on Escobar's hit, and Ian Desmond's swinging bunt in the next at bat was good for an infield single when Nick Hundley slipped. Harper scored, 4-4. 25-pitch third for Hale, 58 total.

Jayson Werth hit an opposite field single to right with two down in the Nats' fourth, and scored when Danny Espinosa double to right on a 1-1 fastball. 5-4 Nationals. 26-pitch frame, 84 total.

Ian Desmond singled and Ryan Zimmerman walked with one down in the top of the fifth. Desmond took third on a fly to deep right by Michael Taylor and scored on a wild pitch to Wilson Ramos. 6-4. 21-pitch frame, 105 total.

David Hale's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 105 P, 62 S, 2 WP, 5/4 GO/FO.

3. Random Game Notes: The Washington Nationals arrived in Coors Field in the midst of a six-game losing streak, to face the Colorado Rockies, who snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

• The Rockies took two of three from the Nationals in D.C. earlier this month, and they finish up their six-game series for the season this week.

• The Nationals started the series 10-20 in the second half. The Rockies were 9-19 before the start of the three-game set.

• Overall since the Nationals started playing in the nation's capital in 2005, the Rockies hold a 43-29 advantage in the all-time series.

• The Rockies were 1-5 against the Nationals last season.

• For tonight's "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Rockies' outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is third in the majors and first in the NL with 14 home runs since the All-Star Break, with 23 of his 27 HRs on the year coming since June 6th. He added no.28 in the bottom of the first.

• Rockies' third baseman Nolan Arenado's 29 HRs are the second-most in the NL this season... behind... Guess?

• Jordan Zimmermann took the mound tonight (5-0) with a 2.10 ERA in nine career starts and 55 IP vs the Rockies.

• A loss tonight would give the Nationals a new season-high losing streak.

• For the Nationals version of "Fun with Arbitrary End Points": Ian Desmond has put up a .301/.369/.602 line with two doubles, a triple, eight home runs and ten walks in 26 games over that stretch.

• Bryce Harper has reached base in 39 of the last 42 games before tonight, and according to reports, no one cared when he fouled a ball off his ankle last week.

• Harper started this week's series in Coors Field with a .259/.310/.407 line, a double and a home run in seven games in Colorado.

• Harper currently leads the majors in SLG (.638) and OBP (.452). He leads the NL in HRs (30).

2. Turning Point(s): The 2-2 sinker David Hale threw to Yunel Escobar looked like a strike, to the naked eye and on the broadcast of tonight's game, but home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom didn't like it so the count went full and the very next pitch ended up sailing out to right for a two-out, two-run opposite field home run that gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead early in Coors Field.

• Jose Reyes reached base on an infield single in the Rockies' first and took second on a botched pickoff attempt with one down. Carlos Gonzalez, who was 4 for 12 with three home runs in the series in D.C. earlier this month hit his fifth home run in 13 at bats to tie things up at 2-2. With two down and Nolan Arenado at third after a double and a groundout, Ian Desmond botched a routine grounder off Nick Hundley's bat that allowed Colorado to take the lead, 3-2.

• Jose Reyes added to the lead with a two-out solo home run to right on a 93 mph 0-2 fastball from Zimmermann. 4-2 Rockies after two.

• But Danny Espinosa doubled, and after a walk by Harper, scored on an RBI single to center by Yunel Escobar, 4-3, and Harper scored on a swinging bunt by Ian Desmond to tie it back up! This is fun, 4-4.

• Jayson Werth lined a two-out single to right in the top of the fourth, and scored from first on a double to right by Danny Espinosa to make it a 5-4 game after three and a half.

• Ian Desmond singled, took second on a wild pitch, third on a fly to right and scored on a second wild one from Hale to make it 6-4 after four and a half, but the Rockies cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning when DJ LeMahieu singled on a line drive to right, took second on an ill-advised throw to first by Bryce Harper and scored on a double by Nolan Arenado. 6-5 after five.

• It was 6-6 in the sixth after Kyle Parker hit a 1-2 curve out to left field. Michael Taylor singled in a run in the seventh, however, after one and two-out walks by Rockies' reliever Justin Miller. 7-6 Nationals.

1. The Wrap-Up: Gonzalez German took over for the Rockies in the top of the sixth and retired the side in order in a seven-pitch frame.

Justin Miller gave up a one-out walk to Yunel Escobar and a two-out walk to Ryan Zimmerman, and Michael "RISP" Taylor stepped in next and singled to left-center to bring Escobar around. 7-6 Nationals.

After Felipe Rivero retired left-handed hitting pinch hitter Charlie Blackmon for the first out of the Rockies' eighth, Nats' skipper Matt Williams went to the pen for Casey Janssen.

Nolan Arenado singled to left on an 0-1 fastball from Janssen, but Ben Paulsen stepped in next and lined out to right and Nick Hundley sent a fly ball to Bryce Harper for out no.3. Still 7-6 Nats.

Tommy Kahnle walked pinch hitter Clint Robinson in the first at bat of the eighth and gave up a double to left by Jayson Werth in the next at bat. Danny Espinosa came up with two runners in scoring position and hit a sac fly to center that moved both runners up. 8-6 Nationals when Robinson scores. A wild pitch to Yunel Escobar, after an intentional walk to Bryce Harper, allowed Werth to score, 9-6.

A balk by new reliever Scott Oberg moved both runners into scoring position and a groundout by Ian Desmond brought Harper in, 10-6, and 11-6 when Escobar scored on a Ryan Zimmerman single.

Drew Storen gave up a leadoff single by Kyle Parker and two outs later Jose Reyes doubled by first to put runners on second and third for DJ LeMahieu, who sent a fly to right to end the threat.

Oberg came back out for the ninth, but was lifted after a one-out walk to Jayson Werth.

Christian Friedrich came on.

Danny Espinosa singled and Bryce Harper walked in front of Yunel Escobar, who singled to left to bring in Werth, 12-6. Ian Desmond? Two-run double to center, 14-6.

And it was 15-6 when Escobar scored on a sac fly by Ryan Zimmerman.

Tanner Roark gave up a leadoff double off the center field wall by Charlie Blackmon, but retired the next three batters. 3 hours and 50 minutes later, it finally ended.

Nationals now 59-59