Nationals 5, Rockies 3

Jim Tracy barely spoke above a whisper as he thought about

starting pitcher Juan Nicasio in the hospital after getting hit in

the head with a line drive Friday.

”I’ve experienced it before, which is why I don’t want to talk

about it too much,” the Colorado Rockies manager said after the

5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. ”It was hard. I laud the

effort to be in the position we were in with a chance to win the


Nicasio suffered a neck injury when he was struck in the second

inning by a ball off the bat of Washington’s Ian Desmond. The ball

slammed into the right side of Nicasio’s head with a smack and

caromed away, rolling over the first-base line.

The right-hander went down and lay flat on his back on the mound

for several minutes as he was attended to by training staff. He was

moved onto a cart by four medical personnel, helped by teammate

Todd Helton and Tracy.

He could be seen blinking and moving his hands and legs before

he was put on a stability board and loaded onto a cart.

Nicasio (4-4) was taken to the hospital where the team said he

was resting comfortably and undergoing tests.

”We kept asking the trainers about his condition as the game

was going on,” said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who spoke for the

players. ”It was hard to play a game after that. I was constantly

thinking about him and hoping he was OK.”

The Rockies trailed 4-0 after five innings before rallying

against Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (7-9). Helton doubled

with one out and Tulowitzki singled to put runners at the corners.

Zimmermann struck out Seth Smith before being relieved by Henry


Chris Nelson greeted Rodriguez with a single to center to make

it 4-1. Ian Stewart’s bloop single to center scored Tulowitzki and

Iannetta followed with a single to score Nelson to make it 4-3.

Pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton walked to load the bases.

Tyler Clippard relieved Rodriguez and worked the count to 3-0

before Young looked at a changeup for strike three to end the


”A 3-2 changeup, it takes a lot of courage to do that,” Tracy

said. ”If he missed the game’s tied.”

Chris Iannetta had three hits and Tulowitzki had two for

Colorado, which has lost five of six.

Losing another in a long season was not the Rockies’ biggest

concern. Nicasio’s prognosis dominated their thoughts.

”There was an awful lot of game effort after what happened,”

Tracy said. ”After that incident occurred I didn’t know which way

that game was going to go. But you have to finish the job.”

The Rockies have dealt with tragedy before. Last year team

president Keli S. McGregor died suddenly and four years ago minor

league coach Mike Coolbaugh died after being struck by a line drive

while coaching first base during a Double-A game.

Nicasio’s injury brought those memories to the forefront.

”It’s been a tough year already,” Tulowitzki said. ”There

have been quiet a few things in the last couple of years that have

happened to this organization and touched our hearts.”

Notes: Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez (right wrist strain) went 1

for 5 with Triple-A Colorado Springs as part of a rehab assignment.

… Colorado’s Jhoulys Chacin will be matched against Washington’s

Livan Hernandez in Saturday’s game. Chacin has a career ERA of

3.39, the lowest in franchise history for a pitcher with at least

40 starts. His .214 opponents’ batting average is a franchise best,

too. Hernandez was 3-3 with a 8.03 ERA in eight starts for the

Rockies in 2008. … Iannetta extended his hit streak to five