In their last road trip of the first half, the Colorado Rockies suffered through their worst stretch of the season. Things are going much more smoothly in their first trip after the All-Star break.
The Rockies look for their fifth win in six games when they continue a four-game series against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium on Saturday.
Colorado (49-47) lost nine of 10 games while visiting Toronto, the Chicago Cubs and Houston from June 22-July 1. The Rockies were outscored 78-50 in that stretch, which included a season-high eight-game losing streak.
On their current trip, however, the Rockies have won five of eight games and four of the last five. The hot streak has pushed them to 10-5 this month.
Leadoff hitter Willy Taveras had two bunt singles and scored twice to lift the Rockies to a 3-1 win over the Nationals on Friday. Taveras, batting .400 (12-for-30) this month, easily leads the majors with 29 bunt hits. Juan Pierre of the Los Angeles Dodgers ranks second with 10.
“We’re a different team with him in the lineup,” manager Clint Hurdle told the Rockies’ official Web site after Taveras returned from a quadriceps injury Monday. “He provides a dynamic we don’t have when he’s out.”
The Nationals (40-56) fell to 22-29 at home with Friday’s loss, matching Florida for the most home defeats in the majors. They committed three errors, and Ryan Zimmerman was doubled off second base in the eighth inning after forgetting how many outs had been recorded.
“You can’t do anything about it now,” Zimmerman said, “but you can’t let this happen.”
All-Star first baseman Dmitri Young wasn’t in Washington’s starting lineup because of a bruised left heel, but could return as early as Saturday. He’s a career .342 hitter against the Rockies and is batting .391 at home this year, compared to .290 on the road.
Young, though, is 1-for-10 in his career against Rodrigo Lopez (5-2, 4.46 ERA), who will try again Saturday for his first road win this season.
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in five road starts and has lost six straight road decisions dating to last season, when he pitched for Baltimore.
After posting a 14.54 ERA in back-to-back defeats June 26 and July 1, Lopez is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last two outings. He allowed one run and one hit in seven innings of Colorado’s 2-1, 10-inning loss at Milwaukee last Saturday.
“It was a tough one,” said Lopez, 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in two career starts against the Nationals. “I can’t remember the last time I had a one-hitter over seven innings. It was too bad we came out with a loss.”
While Lopez hopes to snap his road skid, Washington starter Mike Bacsik (2-6, 4.87) is looking for his first home win of the year.
In six starts at RFK Stadium, the left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA. He didn’t get the decision in Washington’s 4-3 victory on Monday despite holding Houston to one earned run in 5 2-3 innings.
Bacsik has never faced the Rockies.