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Washington Nationals fail to sweep, take 3 of 4 in D.C. but drop finale to Colorado Rockies, 8-7...

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Fernando Rodney, pitching for the third time in three games (in two days), just didn’t have enough to put Colorado’s Rockies away in what ended up an 8-7 loss for Washington in Nationals Park.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez’s squad kept battling back in the series finale with the Colorado Rockies in the nation’s capital, but an over-used Fernando Rodney couldn’t lock down the save in the ninth, giving up a game-tying home run to center by Ian Desmond and an RBI grounder by Daniel Murphy with runners on first and third and one out in what ended up an 8-7 Rockies’ win, which allowed them to avoid a sweep in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park.

Max Scherzer is back!!: Max Scherzer was champing (not chomping) at the bit as he tried to get over the back/scap issue that landed him on the IL and kept him off the mound until this week.

Scherzer was, however, unbeaten in nine starts heading into today’s outing, with a 0.84 ERA, nine walks, 94 Ks, and a .172/.213/.263 line against in 64 IP over that stretch.

Making his first start since before the All-Star Break this afternoon, the Nationals’ 34-year-old right-hander picked up where he left off (though with a little rust showing), throwing three scoreless to start (on just 45 pitches) before a one-out double by Daniel Murphy and two-out RBI single to right by Ryan McMahon got the Rockies on the board with a 1-0 lead in the fourth, and Garrett Hampson followed up with a two-run home run to left that made it a 3-0 game.

Scherzer worked around a walk in the fifth, picking Charlie Blackmon off for out No. 3 of a 16-pitch frame which left him at 86 total, and that was all for the Nats’ ace in a solid return to the rotation.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 86 P, 57 S, 2/1 GO/FO.

Hoffman in the rotation: Jeff Hoffman, a 2014 1st Round pick by the Blue Jays who ended up with the Rockies when he was acquired by Colorado in the trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto in 2015, was winless in four starts in June, with a 6.38 ERA in 16 13 IP in those starts, before he was optioned to Triple-A late last month.

Returning to the Rockies’ big league rotation today, the 26-year-old right-hander started out with four scoreless on 65 pitches, as the Rockies jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Max Scherzer and the Nationals, working around two hits and three walks while striking out four.

Hoffman ran into trouble in the fifth, however, with a Trea Turner single and walk to Adam Eaton putting two on with one out in front of Anthony Rendon, who jumped all over a first-pitch fastball and sent a game-tying three-run blast to left field for his 22nd HR of the 2019 campaign, 3-3 in D.C.

Jeff Hoffman’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 56 S, 4/3 GO/FO.

Sw _ _ p?: Davey Martinez’s team came into the series finale looking for a fourth straight win over the Rockies, which would have been their first ever four-game sweep against Colorado and the first sweep of the Rockies of any length since June 30-July 2, 2014 at Nationals Park.

It would also be their first four-game sweep of the 2019 campaign, and their first four-game sweep in franchise history since May 10-13, 2018 out in Arizona, and their first four-game sweep at home in D.C. since April 11-14, 2016 vs Atlanta’s Braves.

Did they do it? Malheureusement non...

BULLPEN ACTION: Matt Grace took over for the Nats in the top of the sixth and gave up a one-out single by Daniel Murphy and a two-out, two-run home run to right-center by Ryan McMahon, who crushed a 1-1 slider, hitting the first homer off Grace by a left-hander in 309 career plate appearances by the reliever, 5-3 Rockies.

Bryan Shaw came on in the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back, one-out walks to Brian Dozier and Victor Robles, who pulled a double steal then scored on a game-tying two-run double by Gerardo Parra, 5-5. Trea Turner followed with an RBI single to center to bring Parra in and make it 6-5 in the Nationals’ favor.

Tanner Rainey gave up a two-out double to right field by Charlie Blackmon on a ground ball that got through the right side, and a walk to Trevor Story that ended his outing. Tony Sipp took over against David Dahl, who hit a grounder back to the mound that Sipp snagged for out No. 3.

Lefty Sam Howard came on for the Rockies in the bottom of the seventh, and gave up a one-out solo shot to right on a 2-0 fastball up and over the middle to Matt Adams that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard for a solo blast and a two-run Nationals’ lead, 7-5. No. 16 of 2019 for Adams.

Tony Sipp came back out for the top of the eighth (with the available options limited after yesterday’s doubleheader) to face at least two lefties (barring Bud Black pinch hitting for someone), and gave up a solo shot to right on a full-count slider up in the zone inside to Daniel Murphy, 7-6 Nats. Murphy’s 10th.

Wander Suero came on for Sipp with two out in the eighth and gave up a single by Garrett Hampson before he popped Tony Wolters up for out No. 3.

Fernando Rodney came on for the save opportunity in the ninth, after pitching in both of the games yesterday, and gave up a game-tying home run to center on a 1-2 slider to Ian Desmond that cleared the center field fence, 7-7.

Charlie Blackmon walked and took second on a wild pitch before moving to third on a David Dahl single that put runners on the corners, and Blackmon scored on a grounder to short off of Daniel Murphy’s bat, on which the Nationals tried to but couldn’t turn a DP, 8-7 Rockies.

Wade Davis worked around a walk to Juan Soto in the ninth to lock down a sweep-avoiding win for the Rockies. 8-7 final.

Nationals now 55-47