Rockies play long ball, belt Nationals

Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Tyler Colvin is making up for lost time, and Carlos Gonzalez, in the best of ways, is marking time for the Colorado Rockies.
In his first start and just his third game since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs, Colvin belted two two-run homers Tuesday night to lead the Rockies past the Washington Nationals 8-3.
Colvin's first homer came in the fifth. Gonzalez hit his three-run shot later in the inning to cap a five-run outburst off Dan Haren.
Colvin's second homer blew the game open in a three-run eighth.
"It's one thing to be here, but I know I can contribute to this team and help this team win," Colvin said. "Games like tonight justifies why I'm here."
Gonzalez's homer was his team-leading 18th and gave him 51 RBIs, tying him for the team lead with Troy Tulowitzki. It was a strange night for Gonzalez, who struck out each of his four other at-bats.
"It's not fun to strike out four times, but it is what it is," Gonzalez said. "This game's hard. They've been pitching me tough. But sometimes all I need is one mistake. He made one mistake, and that was a big three-run home run against him."
The win was the fifth in seven games for the Rockies, who improved to five games over .500 for the first time since May 25.
The Nationals, who began a nine-game road trip with stops also in Philadelphia and Cleveland, were trying to win three straight for the first time since they won five in a row May 4-10.
Jhoulys Chacin worked five innings for the Rockies, tying his season low. But the Rockies' five-run uprising in the fifth against Haren enabled Chacin to win for the first time since April 19. He suffered a back strain during that start, missed two turns and had gone 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in seven starts since he returned May 5.
Chacin had not been feeling well in recent days, dealing with congestion, a cough and a headache, and threw 47 of his 95 pitches in the first two innings.
"At the beginning, I wasn't feeling good either," he said. "After the first two innings, I got a lot of pitches and runners on base and I said, 'You have to give it all that you got and just keep battling and try to get the most innings you can.'"
Haren has gone 0-5 with a 6.29 ERA in his past six starts, all of which the Nationals have lost. He had pitched well in three of those games and was sailing along against the Rockies before his fifth-inning stumble.
"I feel like I am letting the team down," Haren said of his winless stretch. "It's not for a lack of effort; it's not for a lack of work and not for a lack of belief. I believe every time I step on the mound I'm going to win, and I have to keep that feeling. I've been good for a long time. This is just a bump in the road."
Haren gave up a one-out double in the first to Nolan Arenado and then retired the next 10 batters, striking out five, before Tulowitzki singled with two out in the fourth. Haren then got Todd Helton to ground out.
The Rockies got their leadoff man on for the first time in the fifth when Haren walked Wilin Rosario. Colvin lofted a fly ball just inside the right-field foul pole to tie the game at 2.
After a one-out single by pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco, Dexter Fowler doubled. Gonzalez followed with an opposite-field three-run homer and the Rockies led, 5-2.
Haren has allowed 17 homers in 72 2/3 innings this season.
"I'm getting strikeouts when needed for the most part," Haren said, "not walking guys, but I can't keep the ball in the ballpark. That's what it comes down to. I've never had as much trouble with homers."
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said, "I was kind of dumbfounded. He was really making pitches. He was cruising. In the fifth, he walked a hitter and seemed to lose the feel of the ball. Seemed like he couldn't locate it. It's tough; you can't make mistakes in this ballpark."
The Nationals made it 5-3 in the eighth against Wilton Lopez when Ian Desmond singled home a run and extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games.
Colvin's second homer was an opposite-field shot to left off Drew Storen after Rosario singled to open the three-run eighth.
"I feel really good when I'm driving the ball to the opposite field," Colvin said. "Just to hit it that way, even if it's not a homer, I know I'm seeing the ball pretty well. I know I'm going to pull balls, but it's not my first thought."
Denard Span doubled home two runs with two out in the second to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead. Those were the only runs against Chacin, who allowed seven hits and had at least one runner on base each inning.
NOTES: After the game, the Nationals announced they traded RHP Henry Rodriguez to the Chicago Cubs for minor league RHP Ian Dickson, who was 2-2 with a 6.88 ERA and one save for low Class A Kane County in 11 games, three starts. The Nationals had designated Rodriguez for assignment on June 4. ... Rockies RHP Edgmer Escalona (right elbow inflammation) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Monday. LHP Josh Outman was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he had been optioned Saturday. Because of an injury, Outman did not have to stay in the minors at least 10 days after being optioned. Escalona is 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA and has been scored upon in five of his past six outings, including Sunday when he retired one of four San Diego batters and gave up two homers and three runs. ... Rockies RF Michael Cuddyer, who suffered bruised ribs when he stumbled across first base on Thursday, ran, threw, hit and felt good enough not to have to go on the disabled list. An MRI on Monday revealed bruised ribs. Cuddyer said he hoped to be in the lineup on Wednesday. ... Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood, who came out of a June 3 start with a right triceps strain and missed his next turn, threw a 45-pitch bullpen and felt no pain. Assuming he feels no ill effects, Chatwood will start Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies. ... Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (right lat muscle) threw a simulated game that went well. He will play catch Wednesday, throw a bullpen session Thursday and, barring any setbacks, will start Sunday at Cleveland when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. ... Nationals RF Bryce Harper (left knee) visited Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Pensacola, Fla., for a second opinion on his swollen knee, and Andrews confirmed the team's original diagnosis of bursitis, head trainer Lee Kuntz said. An MRI showed no structural damage to the knee, Kuntz said, and Harper was given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and cortisone injection into the bursa sac. Harper will wear a brace during the day to immobilize the knee and be re-evaluated in a week. ... Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler (back strain) will come off the disabled list and start Thursday. He has been on the DL since May 16. ... Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa has been dealing with a cut on the middle finger of his throwing hand, a reason he yielded 11 hits on Friday against the San Diego Padres, tying his season high. Trainer Keith Dugger said De La Rosa, who is scheduled to start Wednesday, is fine, but just in case he can't pitch, the Rockies have brought up RHP Chris Volstad from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He's not on the Rockies' roster but is in Denver.

What to Read Next