Scherzer, Nationals host Rockies

WASHINGTON — Last time out Washington starter Max Scherzer turned in a gem to halt the team’s five-game losing streak.

Saturday he’ll be trying to stop a three-game skid when he opposes the Colorado Rockies.

Scherzer (2-1, 0.90 ERA) is coming off a dominating two-hit shutout of the Atlanta Braves on Monday night, a game in which he also stole a base. He struck out 10 and threw 102 pitches.

“You’re just trying to go out there and give seven innings. Seven innings, 105 pitches, that’s a good outing,” he told mlb.com. “So for me, that’s kind of what I was shooting for. At least finish seven. The fact that they made those first-pitch outs, that was the reason I was able to go the distance.”

Scherzer has not enjoyed a lot of success against the Rockies, going 1-4 with a 4.76 ERA in eight career starts against the Rockies. He did not face the Rockies last year.

Carlos Gonzalez is 3-for-12 with three solo homes against Scherzer, while Nolan Arenado is 1-for-7.

Gonzalez homered and added a sacrifice fly in Colorado’s 2-1 win on Friday night. The Rockies’ bullpen threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in Colorado’s third straight victory.

“This year and last obviously, they’re horses,” Gonzalez said. “They go out there and we feel confident playing behind them knowing that they’re going to keep the game the same.”

Washington continues to struggle at the plate. The Nationals were held to four hits Friday and have scored five runs in their last three games. Friday’s only run came on Bryce Harper’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly.

“They know what they need to do,” manager Dave Martinez said of Washington’s hitters. “I don’t panic. These guys are going to hit. I know they’re going to hit.”

Third baseman Anthony Rendon left the game after fouling a ball off his left big toe in the fifth inning. Martinez said X-rays were negative.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Martinez said. “He took a pretty good hit on the toe.”

Right-hander Jon Gray (1-2, 5.63) starts for Colorado Saturday. He allowed seven runs on a career-high 10 hits with two home runs in five innings and took the loss against the San Diego Padres his last time out. He is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two career starts against Washington.

The Rockies got the news they feared Friday when Major League Baseball announced Arenado was suspended for five games for charging the mound after Luis Perdomo threw a pitch behind his back during Wednesday’s game.

A brawl ensued and Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra was suspended four games for fighting. Both are appealing and played Friday night.

“Five games is a lot of games,” Arenado said before the game. “I just defended myself.”

Gonzalez, who now has three homers, didn’t hit his third until late May last season.

“I never consider myself a power hitter,” he said. “When the home run comes, it’s just a really good swing to a really good pitch and that means I’m under control, I’m not chasing bad pitches.”

Outfielder Charlie Blackmon missed his fourth consecutive game with right quad tightness.

Colorado manager Bud Black, when asked if a trip to the disabled list was possible for Blackmon, said: “I don’t want to say no, but I think it’s more likely that he’ll play in a game before he’ll go on the DL.”