Rockies hit road to face Nationals

WASHINGTON — After fighting their way out of Coors Field on Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies head east to open a four-game series Thursday night against the Washington Nationals.

The Rockies (6-7) snapped a three-game streak and averted a sweep by the last-place San Diego Padres with a 6-4 win in a game marred by a third-inning brawl.

Tensions from Tuesday’s game — when the Padres’ Manuel Margot was hit by a 95 mph fastball from Rockies reliever Scott Oberg and ended up on the disabled list with bruised ribs — carried over. After San Diego starter Luis Perdomo threw a pitch behind Nolan Arenado’s back, Arenado charged the mound and the benches emptied. Three Rockies and two Padres were ejected.

“It is what it is,” Arenado told the Denver Post. “I didn’t like it — they thought they had to do something, but I had to do something too — that’s kind of why I went out there.”

Colorado scored five runs right after the brawl and held on.

Right-hander Chad Bettis (1-0, 2.53) opposes Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.59) on Thursday night.

Bettis was solid for a second straight outing in his last start, allowing a run on just four hits while throwing 5 2/3 innings on 88 pitches in a no-decision.

“There’s going to be a consistency to Chad’s games,” manager Bud Black told the Post. “I suspect Chad’s starts, if he makes all 33 or 34, there will be less variability in his outings.”

Bettis is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in four games — two starts — against Washington.

Gonzalez (1-0, 1.59) has picked up where he left off in last year’s regular season. He took a no-decision in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Mets, allowing a run in 5 1/3 innings on six hits and three walks.

Gonzalez (4-0, 3.58) is unbeaten in five career starts against the Colorado Rockies.

On Wednesday, the Nationals (6-6) rallied to tie the game in the ninth and 11th innings before dropping a 5-3, 12-inning decision to the Atlanta Braves, missing out on the sweep.

“There are silver linings we can take from this moving forward,” reliever Sean Doolittle told reporters. “We won the series. Overall, we played a pretty good game of baseball today, but to come that close to getting a sweep.”

One week after getting pounded for 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings by Atlanta, starter A.J. Cole attacked the strike zone and held the Braves to two runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.

What the Nationals feared became official when outfielder Adam Eaton was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise in his left ankle. Eaton, who was hitting .325 with a .424 on-base percentage, missed most of last season when he tore his ACL last April, also injuring his ankle on the play.

“We’re going to be very, very cautious,” Washington manager Dave Martinez told reporters. “One, it’s the ankle that he hurt last year. Two, so we don’t have any setbacks on the knee. It’s a bone bruise. But it’s a bad bone bruise and it bothers him. We thought rather let him miss 10 days than let it become three, four weeks.”

Thursday’s game could mark former Washington shortstop Ian Desmond’s return to the Nationals Park diamond. Desmond was on the disabled list when the Rockies visited last season.