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Washington Nationals cause Colorado Rockies some trouble with 12-2 win in Coors Field...

Things are getting even more interesting in the NL West after the Nationals beat the Rockies 12-2 tonight in Coors Field.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg held the Colorado Rockies to two runs on five hits in six innings on the mound in Coors Field, and the Washington Nationals provided plenty of run-support in an 12-2 win that left the Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers tied atop the NL West with one left on the regular season schedule.

Strasburg vs Rockies: Stephen Strasburg gave up four hits, four walks, and one run over six innings in his start against the Colorado Rockies in the nation’s capital back in April, striking out five batters in what ended up a 6-5 loss for Washington’s Nationals in which he received no decision.

Going into his second start of the season against the Rockies and his last start of the 2018 campaign, the Nats’ right-hander was unbeaten in seven outings since returning from a DL stint for shoulder inflammation, with a 3.49 ERA, 15 walks, 48 Ks, and a .245/.329/.388 line against in 38 23 IP over that stretch.

Strasburg took the mound with a 2-0 lead, and after a long-ish, 26-pitch, scoreless first, got a 5-0 lead to work with before giving up a solo shot to center on a 92 mph first-pitch heater to Carlos Gonzalez that went 436 feet into the stands to get the Rockies on the board, 5-1.

Strasburg was up to 86 pitches with 12 of the last 13 batters set down after five, and up to 13 of 14 retired one out into the Rockies’ half of the sixth when Nolan Arenado hit the second solo home run of the game for the home team, 6-2.

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 103 P, 68 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

Gray vs the Nationals: Jon Gray gave up eight hits, a walk, and five earned runs in 5 23 IP against Washington when he faced the Nationals in the nation’s capital back in April.

Gray took the mound tonight (4-1) in 12 second-half starts, with a 4.18 ERA, 22 walks, 57 Ks, and a .229/.298/.447 line against in 71 IP since the All-Star Break.

He fell behind early when Adam Eaton and Trea Turner singled and scored on a two-out, two-run double to left by Juan Soto, who lined a 1-0 fastball the other way and out of the reach of Rockies’ left fielder David Dahl, 2-0.

Wilmer Difo bunted his way on to start the second inning, moved up on a two-strike bunt by Stephen Strasburg, and scored on an RBI single by Adam Eaton, 3-0. Turner followed with a two-run shot to left on a 88 mph 1-1 slider from Gray, 5-0. Turner’s 19th.

Jon Gray’s Line: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 41 P, 27 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Turn, Turn, Turner: It’s not quite the 162 starts Ryan Zimmerman made in 2007, but with a start in tonight’s game against the Rockies, Trea Turner has appeared in all 161 games this season, 157 as starter and four off the bench. If he starts the season finale on Sunday, the Nationals mentioned in their pregame notes, Turner will tie Alfonso Soriano (158 in 2006) for second on the list for the most starts in a season in franchise history.

Oh, and Turner singled the first time up tonight, then hit his 19th home run of 2018 in his second at bat.

Soto ties Harper: Rockies’ right fielder Carlos Gonzalez didn’t even bother to chase after Juan Soto’s solo blast to right off Chad Bettis in the top of the fifth, just turning to watch while it sailed out for Soto’s 22nd home run of the 2018 campaign, which tied teammate Bryce Harper for the most home runs by a teenager in major league history, two shy of Boston Red Sox’ slugger Tony Conigliaro’s MLB record 24 HRs as a teenager in 1964.

BULLPEN ACTION: Chad Bettis tossed a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3 3rd after taking over on the mound for the Rockies, and came back out with a 1-2-3 top of the fourth, completing two scoreless on 24 pitches. Juan Soto got him in the fifth, however, taking a 2-2 fastball for a ride to right for a no-doubter of a two-run home run that made it 6-1.

Soto also tied Bryce Harper with the blast, which was his 22nd of 2018, two shy of the record for most homers by a teenager in the majors, set by the Boston Red Sox’ Tony Conigliaro in 1964.

DJ Johnson came on for the Rockies in the top of the sixth, and worked around back-to-back, two-out singles for a scoreless frame.

Johnson returned to the mound for another inning of work in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single by Bryce Harper, a one-out walk to Juan Soto, and a two-out dribbler off of Matt Wieters’ bat that loaded the bases in front of Wilmer Difo, who lined a two-run single out to left, 8-2.

Michael A. Taylor followed with a pinch hit RBI single off new pitcher Jake McGee, 9-2.

[ed. note - “In case you were wondering, this is MAT. He’s an outfielder on the Nationals’ roster.”]

Koda Glover got for the seventh for the Nationals and retired the Rockies in order in a nine-pitch frame.

Bryce Harper walked with one out in the top of the eighth, and scored on an RBI triple (No. 2) to right-center by Anthony Rendon, 10-2. Rendon scored on a Juan Soto groundout that was good for his 4th RBI of the night, 11-2.

Greg Holland retired the Rockies in order in the eighth, and the Nationals added to the lead with Sam Howard on the mound in the top of the ninth, with Michael A. Taylor doubling and scoring on an RBI single by Trea Turner to make it a 12-2 game.

Sean Doolittle came on with a 10-run lead and gave up a leadoff walk to Ryan McMahon and had Pat Valaika reached on a spinning dribbler toward first base that Mark Reynolds could not handle, but back-to-back Ks from Drew Butera and Tony Wolters got the closer the first two outs of the inning before he walked Gerardo Parra on his 27th pitch, loading the bases before he was lifted.

Austen Williams came on to get out No. 3, and got a force at second to end it.


Final Score: 12-2 Nationals

Nationals now 82-79