Rockies 3, Nationals 2

After winning once in 12 starts, Jason Hammel knew he had to do

something different. So he changed two things.

The Colorado Rockies starter came out to the mound wearing

stirrups and his pants pulled high in the style of teammate Ubaldo

Jimenez. More importantly, Hammel made a change in his delivery at

the suggestion of pitching coach Bob Apodaca, a switch the

right-hander credited for his strong performance in a 3-2 win over

the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

Between starts, Hammel (5-8) and Apodaca worked on Hammel’s

windup, adding a move in which Hammel brings his hands above his

head. That gave Hammel a more consistent rhythm and better command

of his fastball.

”I needed to change something up,” Hammel said. ”I was in

this rut where a lot of games we should have won when I was on the

mound we didn’t, and other games I wasn’t even showing up.”

Hammel allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings for his

second win since April 30. Colorado snapped a five-game losing

streak and won for the first time in eight road games.

”You forget what it feels like sometimes,” said reliever Matt

Reynolds, who replaced Hammel in the seventh and didn’t allow a

baserunner. ”Get a good start, good defense, enough offense. It’s

a formula we’d like to keep going.”

All three Rockies runs came in the fourth. Todd Helton scored on

a balk and Ty Wigginton and Cole Garner each had a run-scoring

single.

Nationals starter John Lannan (5-6) retired his first 10 batters

– striking out five – but had his outing cut short when Wigginton’s

liner up the middle hit him on the nose.

Jonathan Herrera singled in the fourth, the first Colorado

hitter to reach base. Helton and Wigginton followed with

consecutive singles off Lannan. Herrera scored on Wigginton’s hit,

a shot that deflected off Lannan’s glove and struck him in the

face.

Lannan walked off the field to the dugout with the aid of a

trainer after the play and was replaced by Ryan Mattheus. The team

said Lannan had a nasal contusion and is day to day.

”It’s the manager’s worst nightmare,” Nationals skipper Davey

Johnson said. ”Very fortunate it didn’t do a lot of damage. That

ball was smoked.”

After Lannan left, a fielder’s choice by Mark Ellis put runners

on the corners, and Helton scored on Mattheus’ balk. Garner

followed with a run-scoring single – his first major league hit –

to give Colorado a 3-1 lead.

Washington’s first three batters of the game reached to load the

bases against Hammel, but the only run of the inning came on

Michael Morse’s sacrifice fly. Hammel struck out Jayson Werth and

got Rick Ankiel to pop out to second base to get out of the

jam.

”That was huge,” Hammel said. ”That changed the complexion of

the game, because we go down big there, especially with the way

we’ve been playing – I don’t want to say it, but sometimes it looks

like we just pack it up after we get down. That’s not a good trait

to have, but the way we’ve been playing it’s tough to dust yourself

off in that situation.”

Hammel cruised the rest of the way, except for Wilson Ramos’

eighth home run of the season in the fourth, a shot to center field

that cut the lead to 3-2.

”I felt he was a lot smoother,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy

said of Hammel’s adjustment. ”He threw quality strikes up and down

in the zone.”

NOTES: Washington placed C Ivan Rodriguez (right oblique strain)

on the 15-day DL before the game and recalled C Jesus Flores from

Triple-A Syracuse. … RHP Cole Kimball, who has been on the

disabled list since June 10, will undergo surgery next week in New

York to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Johnson

said he expects the surgery to be season-ending. … Colorado OF

Carlos Gonzalez started after missing four games with a bruised

right wrist. … Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki did not start, but

should be available on Saturday, Tracy said. Tulowitzki has missed

four games with a tight hamstring. … The Rockies placed OF

Charlie Blackmon on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left

foot and recalled Garner from Triple-A Colorado Springs before the

game.