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Washington Nationals hang on for 6-5 win, take 3 of 4 from Colorado Rockies in D.C.

The Nationals scored four early, and added two in the middle innings which ended up being big runs in a 6-5 win.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Gray vs the Rockies:

Josiah Gray told reporters following his three-inning, 80-pitch outing against LA’s Dodgers in D.C. last week, in a start which saw him give up five hits (three of the home runs), three walks, and seven runs, all earned, he might have been pressing or trying to impress while facing his former team.

“There were a lot of emotions, honestly,” Gray said, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco.

“You know, in being traded twice already,” the 2018 2nd Round pick by the Reds, who went to the Dodgers in a trade at the end of that year, and was moved to the Nationals last July, explained, “I guess this was my first opportunity to prove myself against a former team.

“So I obviously let the emotions get ahead of me and didn’t control them from the first pitch on.”

“They were hitting the ball hard. I wasn’t throwing many strikes. Nothing really went well tonight. So that’s how I look at it,” he added.

“Just didn’t finish,” manager Davey Martinez said.

“A lot of arm-side misses, couldn’t locate his fastball at all, breaking balls, some were sharp, some weren’t.”

Gray missed up on a 1-0 fastball to Charlie Blackmon in the first at-bat of the series finale with the Colorado Rockies in D.C. today, and he gave up a leadoff home run to right field which put the visitors up 1-0 really early.

Given a 2-1 lead to work with in the bottom of the first, Gray retired the Rockies in order in the top of the second, but he issued back-to-back walks to Elias Díaz and Blackmon in the top of the third, earning him a visit from Pitching Coach Jim Hickey, after which he got out No. 1 on a fly to right and Nos. 2-3 on an inning-ending, 5-4-3 DP.

A two-out, foul pop lost in the afternoon sun, and subsequent single extended Gray’s fourth inning of work, and led to him throwing 12 additional pitches in a scoreless 27-pitch inning, which left him at 74 total.

A two-out walk to Blackmon and a single to right by Yonathan Daza pushed Gray up to 91 pitches, and brought C.J. Cron up with two on, but two pitches and a fly to right later he was out of the jam, at 93 pitches overall, and done for the day in a nice bounce-back start.

Josiah Gray’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 56 S, 3/5 GO/FO.

Freeland in D.C.:

Kyle Freeland, 29, took the mound this afternoon in Nationals Park with a 1.17 ERA and stingy .217/.288/.317 line against in three starts and 15 13 IP outside of Coors Field this season, with a 6.25 ERA and a .328/.388/.519 line against at home in his hometown of Denver, Colorado.

His 1.17 ERA on the road, “among NL pitchers with at least three road starts, [was] the fifth-lowest ERA,” as the Rockies highlighted in their pregame notes for the fourth game of four against the Nationals.

He gave up his 3rd and 4th earned runs in his 16th inning on the mound outside Coors Field this season, when Juan Soto hit a 2-0 cutter outside out the other way for a two-run shot to left-center field and a 2-1 lead after the Rockies jumped out 1-0 in the top of the first inning.

Alcides Escobar and Victor Robles hit back-to-back, two-out singles off Freeland in the home-half of the second, then Robles broke for second in the next at-bat, and Rockies’ catcher Elias Díaz’s throw to second got away from second baseman Brendan Rodgers allowing Escobar to score for a 3-1 lead.

Robles stole third safely, which, why, and he scored on a two-out hit by César Hernández, 4-1.

Freeland worked around a two-out walk to Josh Bell in the third, and a two-out infield single by Robles in the fourth, to keep it 4-1 Nationals.

Juan Soto walked to start the fifth, and took third on a Nelson Cruz double to left, but the Rockies’ lefty retired the next three batters in order to complete a 12-pitch frame that left him at 92 total after five.

Freeland returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth, but tweaked something on his 107th pitch, after giving up a two-out single, and he had to be helped off the field, having trouble with his left leg...

Kyle Freeland’s Line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 107 P, 62 S, 7/6 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Carl Edwards, Jr. was first out of the pen for the Nationals, who were up 4-1 after five, and he retired the Rockies in order in a nine-pitch frame.

Robert Stephenson came on for the Rockies after Freeland was injured, and gave up a line drive, two-run home to left by Lane Thomas, 6-1 Nationals after six.

Andres Machado, the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader, stayed with the team as Aaron Sanchez was DFA’d last night, and Machado got the seventh inning this afternoon and got a bit hit around, giving up a leadoff single by Brendan Rodgers, then a double by Sam Hilliard, an RBI single by Elias Díaz, and an RBI groundout by Charlie Blackmon, 6-3 Nationals, before retiring the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Kyle Finnegan gave up a leadoff double by Ryan McMahon and a single by José Iglesias in the first two at-bats of the eighth, and one out later Brendan Rodgers singled to drive in a fourth run, 6-4 Nationals, and 6-5 on an RBI single by Sam Hilliard.

Tanner Rainey came on with runners on first and third and one out, and struck out both Elias Díaz and Charlie Blackmon to end the threat, still 6-5 Nats.

Rainey came back out for the bottom of the ninth, going for the five-out save, and retired the side in order in an eight-pitch frame, ballgame.

Nationals now 18-31