Hernandez, Rockies hand Nats 9th straight loss
Troy Tulowitzki drove in three runs and the Rockies scored six times in the fifth inning to extend the Washington Nationals’ losing streak to nine games with a 13-6 victory Saturday night.
On a night when their binge of 10 straight games with a home run came to an end, the Rockies piled up 13 hits. Every starter but slugger Matt Holliday had an RBI.
“We were real good in situational-hitting opportunities tonight—two-out RBIs, cutting the barrel on a lot of balls,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “We answered early, they came back. We answered again, had a big fifth inning. We kept grinding it out with a couple more runs late. A real good night for us offensively. We needed to have one of those.”
Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe and Ian Stewart had two RBIs apiece for the Rockies, who broke open a 5-2 game in the fifth. The first eight hitters reached base safely, Colorado drew four walks and starter Livan Hernandez helped himself with a run-scoring double.
Hernandez (1-1), claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Aug. 6 after going 10-8 with the Twins, won his fifth consecutive start against the franchise for which he pitched from 2003-06. Coming off a shaky Aug. 10 Rockies debut in which he allowed nine runs in 2 2-3 innings, Hernandez picked up the victory despite allowing six runs on 10 hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out two.
“I felt coming in it was going to take (Hernandez) two starts to get his feet underneath him,” Hurdle said. “I think he’s in a lot better place than when he joined us. I just think he fatigued a little bit in the sixth inning.”
The right-hander got plenty of run support and once again frustrated his former teammates.
“I don’t check the numbers, but I think I’ve won a couple games (against Washington). I don’t know. I can’t say nothing about that. I’m lucky, I think,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez was just happy to have a more solid outing than in his first start for Colorado.
“It was much better,” he said. “I had a bad inning, but it’s OK. I won the game and gave the team a chance.”
Washington’s nine straight defeats matches the team’s longest losing streak since it arrived from Montreal before the 2005 season. It’s the Nationals’ third nine-game skid this season.
“Anything positive from this game?” manager Manny Acta said, repeating a question he was asked. “It’s over.”
If the losing is wearing on the Nationals, Acta doesn’t see it.
“I think they’re handling it pretty well,” he said. “They come in every day not thinking about how many they’ve lost in a row. They come in every day (like) it’s a brand-new day.”
Colorado quickly staked Hernandez to a 2-0 lead in the first. With one out, Willy Taveras singled and stole second. Holliday walked and, after a double steal, Atkins slapped a two-run single to left.
The Nationals tied the game in the second after loading the bases on three singles. Hernandez knocked down Belliard’s comebacker, but his attempt for a forceout at home glanced off Milledge on what was ruled a run-scoring infield hit. Kory Casto then bounced into a double play, tying the game.
But John Lannan (6-12) couldn’t hold the lead, allowing the Rockies to go up 5-2 in the third. Holliday drew a one-out walk, moved to third on Atkins’ single and scored on Hawpe’s groundout. Tulowitzki doubled in Atkins, then scored on Yorvit Torrealba’s single.
Lannan departed after Hawpe’s RBI single made it 6-2 in the fifth, and Tulowitzki greeted Garrett Mock with a two-run single for an 8-2 lead. Stewart then added an RBI single, Hernandez doubled home a run and Taveras hit a sacrifice fly.
Lannan went four-plus innings, allowing seven hits and a season-worst eight runs. He walked four and struck out two.
“I don’t even know what was going on,” Lannan said. “It was definitely a start you’ve got to forget about. … I just didn’t have anything today.”
Hernandez tired in the sixth, when Washington scored four times. Ryan Zimmerman and Milledge had RBI doubles, making it 11-4, and Belliard doubled home two runs.
Stewart’s RBI double and Clint Barmes’ run-scoring single made it 13-6 in the ninth.
Nationals C Jesus Flores strained his right calf on a home plate collision in the sixth. Precautionary X-rays were taken after the game and Flores, Washington’s RBI leader with 52, is day-to-day. … Taveras and Holliday each had two stolen bases. It was the second straight multisteal game for Taveras and his 13th of the season. … Colorado has won eight of 12 road games.
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