Nationals end six-game skid with 15-6 victory over Rockies

DENVER (AP) Alternately swinging away and exercising patience at the plate, the Washington Nationals came up with the right balance in snapping a season-high tying six game losing streak.

Yunel Escobar homered and drove in four runs, Ian Desmond also had four RBIs and the Nationals pulled away late to beat the Colorado Rockies 15-6 on Tuesday night

”We just kept putting the pressure on them, and that’s how you win ball games,” said Desmond, who had three hits.

Michael A. Taylor hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh and the Nationals capitalized on a lack of control by Rockies pitchers in a four-run eighth to break open a close game.

Bryce Harper walked a career-high four times, scoring each time to help Jordan Zimmermann (9-8) come away with the victory despite allowing six runs in six innings.

”It was a struggle,” Zimmermann said. ”I made a lot of 0-2 mistakes and three home runs (allowed) obviously isn’t what I wanted to do. I just tried to keep it close. I did my best and happy we got the win.”

Jose Reyes had four hits, including his first home run as a member of the Rockies. Kyle Parker and Carlos Gonzalez also homered for the Rockies. Gonzalez was lifted in the sixth inning because of inflammation in his right knee and was listed as day to day.

Forging the game’s third tie, Parker homered off Zimmerman to lead off the sixth but Washington went back in front in its next at bat on Taylor’s RBI single off reliever Justin Miller (1-2) who had put a runner in scoring position by issuing two walks.

The Nationals drew three more walks – one intentional – that were issued by Tommy Kahnle, and benefited from a balk call on Scott Oberg while batting around in the eighth and tacking on four runs.

In all, Rockies pitchers walked 10 Nationals, including two more in the ninth, when they added four more runs.

”It makes it tough,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of the walks, seven of which were issued by relievers. ”It’s a one-run game in the seventh and it got ugly after that. Working through some tough stuff in the pen right now.”

Danny Espinosa doubled for the second time in the game in the fourth, scoring Jayson Werth to snap a 4-4 tie.

Washington added another run in the fifth, helped by two wild pitches by David Hale, the second of which allowed Ian Desmond to score from third. Hale, reinstated from the disabled list (groin strain) prior to the game, allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings.

”My offspeed felt good but my command was a little off with the fastball,” Hale said.

Escobar homered in the first following a two-out walk to Harper but Colorado regained the lead in its half of the inning behind Gonzalez’s two-run homer and a fielding error by shortstop Desmond leading to an unearned run.

Reyes’ solo homer in the second was his first since being acquired by Colorado in the trade deadline deal that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, putting the Rockies up 4-2. The Nationals answered in the third with successive RBI singles by Escobar and Desmond to even it up.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Aaron Barrett’s rehab from a right elbow sprain has been put on hold. Manager Matt Williams said Barrett was visiting with doctors and undergoing a round of tests to try to get a better handle on the problem. ”Last time he went out and pitched, he didn’t feel good,” Williams said.

Rockies: Centerfielder Charlie Blackmon was held out of the starting lineup because of illness before entering in the sixth in place of the injured Gonzalez. … RHP Chad Bettis, on the 15-day disabled list since mid-July because of inflammation in his pitching elbow, was slated to throw 80-85 pitches Thursday in a rehab start for Triple A Albuquerque.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg is slated to make his seventh career start against Colorado. He’s 3-3 with a 2.77 ERA in his six previous starts against the Rockies.

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa has enjoyed past success against the Nationals, going 5-2 with a 4.12 ERA in nine career starts against them.