The Washington Nationals were down to their last out this afternoon in the nation’s capital, facing a reliever, in Colorado closer Adam Ottavino, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in 37 straight appearances before Jayson Werth hit a two-out, two-strike single to center to bring Ben Revere in from second, and tie it up at 4-4 in the ninth.
It went to extras before the Rockies struck back with Charlie Blackmon connecting for his second home run of the game (and 23rd of the season) in the top of the eleventh to put Colorado up 6-4.
Carlos Gonzalez hit the second two-run home run of the inning one batter later to make it an 8-4 game.
It ended up 9-4 as the Rockies snapped a seven-game road losing streak and set up a rubber match tomorrow afternoon in D.C.
Here’s how it happened:
Cole tossed two scoreless innings on 38 pitches, but an eight-pitch, one-out battle with Rockies’ outfielder Charlie Blackmon in the second ended with a solo home run to right as Blackmon fouled off two 3-2 fastballs, then connected with a full-count curve. Home run No. 22 of 2016 for Blackmon, 1-0 Colorado.
Nolan Arenado jumped on a first-pitch slider, sending a grounder through the left side of the infield and David Dahl doubled to left on a 1-1 fastball from Cole to put runners on second and third with no one out in the top of the fourth.
Cole retired the next two batters to get to the Rockies’ No. 8 hitter, Daniel Descalso, so Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker called for an intentional walk, only to have Cole threw a wild pitch on one of the intentional balls, 2-0 Rockies when Arenado scored from third... and 3-0 when Rockies’ starter Jorge De La Rosa sent a two-out single to center.
The Nationals rallied to tie it up in the fourth, however, stringing together four hit in a row to start the inning.
Daniel Murphy singled and scored on an opposite field double by Bryce Harper in the fourth, getting the Nationals on the board, 3-1 Rockies. Harper took third on a single to center by Anthony Rendon and scored on a single to right by Wilson Ramos, 3-2.
Rendon scored from third on a one-out grounder to second by Danny Espinosa and the Nats tied it up at 3-3.
A.J. Cole’s Line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 112 P, 69 S, 1/2 GO/FO.
Oliver Perez and Matt Belisle helped Cole finish up the sixth, with the score still tied at 3-3.
Marc Rzepczynski took over in the top seventh and gave up a leadoff single by Charlie Blackmon, then made an awkward underhand toss to first on a bunt by DJ LeMahieu, allowing Blackmon to take third before he scored on a groundout by Carlos Gonzalez, 4-3 Rockies.
Boone Logan and Carlos Esteves got the Rockies two outs in the eight, but Esteves issued a two-out walk to Wilson Ramos, prompting Colorado’s skipper Walt Weiss to turn to his closer Adam Ottavino for a four-out save.
Ottavio took a streak of 37-straight appearances without allowing an earned run to the mound in the nation’s capital and finished the eighth.
Ben Revere walked with one out in the ninth, and stole second... before scoring on a single to center by Jayson Werth, 4-4 in D.C.
It was still tied at 4-4 in the eleventh when Blackmon hit his second home run of the game to right field on a first-pitch change from Yusmeiro Petit, 6-4 Rockies. Another two-run home run by Carlos Gonzalez made it 8-4 before Petit had recorded an out.
Nick Hundley drove in another run with the seventh hit of the inning, the fifth run the Rockies scored in the eleventh.
That’s how it ended. Rockies 9-4 over the Nationals.
Nationals now 75-54
- With last night’s win, Washington improved to 75-53 on the year, the second-best record in the majors, behind only the Chicago Cubs (82-45).
- The Nationals’ +142 run differential is also the second best in the majors, behind only the Cubs (+219).
- Colorado is the only team in the majors with a losing record (60-68) and a positive run differential (+5).
- The Rockies fell to 23-18 vs the Nationals in the all-time series between the two teams with last night’s loss, and 16-11 in Nationals Park.
- Colorado had lost 13 of their last 18 games heading into this afternoon’s matchup in the nation’s capital, and they were 1-8 on the road over that stretch.
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Trea Turner is 30 for 73 (.411 AVG) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, two walks, eight stolen bases and 20 runs scored... since August 10th.
- Daniel Murphy started the day leading the NL in AVG (.346), SLG (.615), OPS (1.005), extra base hits (67), multi-hit games (49) and doubles (tied, 37).
- The Rockies have three players in the Top 11 in AVG in the NL: DJ LeMahieu (.344 AVG, 2nd), Charlie Blackmon (.316, 7th) and Carlos Gonzalez (.311, 11th).
- In a bonus Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Bryce Harper is 20 for 50 (.391 AVG) with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, nine walks, three steals and 10 runs scored since returning to the lineup on August 14th.
- Anthony Rendon is 36 for 104 (.346 AVG) with 15 doubles, five home runs, 25 RBIs, 13 walks and 19 runs scored in 29 games since July 26th.
Nationals now 75-54