Strasburg pitches 7 strong as Nationals beat Rockies, 4-1.

BY foxsports • August 19, 2015

DENVER (AP) Stephen Strasburg kept the Washington Nationals in the game until Jayson Werth delivered a clutch hit.

Strasburg pitched seven strong innings, Werth hit a tiebreaking triple in the eighth and the Nationals rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Strasburg (7-6) allowed just two hits, struck out five and didn't walk a batter in his third straight solid start after coming off the disabled list. Since returning to the rotation on Aug. 8, the big right-hander has allowed just three earned runs, struck out 25 in 20 innings and lowered his ERA from 5.16 to 4.22.

Strasburg has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last seven starts.

''That's what you can get from him - dominant stuff every time he goes out there,'' manager Matt Williams said. ''He has a chance to do something special every time he takes the mound.''

He was locked in against a Rockies team that has lost nine of its last 11. He allowed a leadoff single to Charlie Blackmon in the first but threw him out trying to steal second.

He didn't give up another hit until Nolan Arenado's two-out single in the fourth.

''Teams try to get me early because they know when I get a feeling and settle down, command all my pitches, it's tougher,'' Strasburg said.

Despite just getting two hits, Colorado was leading before the Nationals tied it in the seventh against reliever Gonzalez Germen. He allowed a two-out double to Bryce Harper and walked two straight to load the bases. Germen then threw a wild pitch to Ryan Zimmerman and Harper scored easily to tie it at 1.

Washington again mounted a two-out rally off Rafael Betancourt (2-4) in the eighth. Wilson Ramos singled, pinch-hitter Clint Robinson walked and Werth lined a triple over the glove of right fielder Carlos Gonzalez to make it 3-1.

Werth finished with two hits for the Nationals, who are just 11-20 since the All-Star break.

''We had some opportunities but you're going to have nights when you're not going to drive in every run,'' Werth said. ''It's a matter of staying in the game.''

Zimmerman added an RBI single in the ninth and Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs for his 20th save and third with Washington.

The win, coupled with the New York Mets' loss at Baltimore, moved the Nationals within 3 1/2 games of first place in the NL East.

''We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us,'' Werth said. ''It's going to be tough. We didn't do ourselves any favors but it's all right there in front of us.''

Four Colorado pitchers combined to walk nine batters a night after issuing 10 bases on balls. Starter Jorge De La Rosa walked six but left the game without allowing a run after some clutch pitching through six innings.

He struck out Harper with a runner on third to end the fifth and he worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth.

''There was a couple in there that he wasn't going to give in to,'' manager Walt Weiss said of De La Rosa. ''He was going to try and make them chase. He commands the ball pretty well. He can command the strike zone and then command balls at times when he needs to do that. And he did that a few times tonight.''

The Rockies took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the second. Zimmerman misplayed Ben Paulsen's grounder down the first-base line for a two-base error. Paulsen moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

Strasburg found his groove after that. He retired 17 of last 18 batters he faced, including the final 10.

''He went out there from pitch one to the last pitch he threw and was in total control of the game,'' Paplebon said.


Werth didn't like his first two plate appearances so after popping out in the third he ran to the indoor cage and had batting practice coach Ali Modami throw him some pitches. It seemed to help; Werth doubled in his third at-bat and finished 2 for 5.

''Hopefully I figured something out,'' Werth said. ''It felt like something clicked. Hopefully I hold onto that going forward.''


Nationals: OF Denard Span (back) had two hits in five innings of a rehab assignment Tuesday night. He was scheduled to play seven innings Wednesday. ''He was scheduled to potentially DH but he called and said he was thinking about playing the field as well,'' Williams said. ''It's a good sign that he's feeling good.''

Rockies: C Michael McKenry was placed on the 60-day DL with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. McKenry has played with a sore knee for most of the season.


Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (11-9, 2.73) will make his first start at Coors Field since 2009 when he was with Arizona.

Rockies: LHP Yohan Flande (2-1, 4.19) has struggled against the Nationals in his career. He is 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts against Washington.

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