Nationals 5, Rockies 4

Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


DENVER -- As if losing three players wasn't bad enough, the Colorado Rockies lost the lead Thursday on two balk calls in the seventh inning and fell 5-4 to the Washington Nationals in the rubber game of the series.
Rockies starter Jeff Francis turned a 3-2 lead over to reliever Wilton Lopez in the seventh. He gave up a leadoff single to Ian Desmond, who stole second as Kurt Suzuki struck out. Desmond scored the tying run when Lopez was called for two balks while pitching to Steve Lombardozzi.
Lopez took a throw at first base for the final out of the inning and was then ejected along with pitching coach Jim Wright.
The Nationals scored twice in the eighth off Matt Belisle to go ahead 5-3.
Belisle surrendered back-to-back doubles with one out, the second by Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a two-run homer in the third. With two outs, Belisle gave up a walk followed by a run-scoring infield single by Desmond, who went 4-for-4.
Injuries hit the Rockies hard during the game.
Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez suffered a left foot contusion when he was struck with a foul ball while waiting to hit in the first inning. He has been dealing with tendinitis in his left knee for weeks.
Colorado center fielder Dexter Fowler was hit in the hand with a Ross Detwiler pitcher while moving to bunt in the third and left the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. In the top of the inning, Tulowitzki had taken a hard slide at second from Roger Bernadina, who was stretching a single into a double.
Francis pitched a season-high six innings for the third time in 10 starts for the Rockies, allowing two runs with a season-high eight strikeouts and no walks.
Detwiler came off the disabled list to make the start for the Nationals and gave up three runs in five innings. He had been sidelined with a back strain and pitched for the first time since May 15.
The Rockies scored twice in the fourth to go ahead 3-2. After Tulowitzki singled, Micheal Cuddyer doubled off the wall in right field. The ball caromed past Jayson Werth, who picked up the ball but dropped it. That error allowed Tulowitzki to score and Cuddyer to take third. Cuddyer scored on Wilin Rosario's groundout.
Francis gave up a leadoff single in the third to Detwiler, who had been 0-for-14 this season. With two out, Zimmerman hit his seventh home run of the season.
NOTES: The Nationals optioned RHP Erik Davis to Triple-A Syracuse to make room on the roster for Detwiler, who had been on the disabled list retroactive to May 16 with a back strain. Manager Davey Johnson said RHP Ross Ohlendorf, who made an effective spot start Wednesday, would be kept in a long relief role. ... Cuddyer returned to the lineup after missing the past five games with a left rib cage strain. ... Johnson was chosen by National League manager Bruce Bochy to be a coach at next month's All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. He managed the Mets to their last World Series in 1986. "Going back to New York, it'll be a zoo," Johnson said, "but other than that, I'm looking forward to it."...Desmond extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games. ... Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (right lat muscle) came through a bullpen session fine and is scheduled to come off the disabled list Sunday and start at Cleveland.