WASHINGTON -- Reliever Drew Storen had been lights out for the Nationals this season until Friday night, when he blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning as the Rockies claimed a 5-4 final at Nationals Park.
The Nationals had a 4-1 lead going into the eighth when manager Matt Williams went with Storen, who now has pitched in four of the past five games. Storen retired two of the first three hitters he faced, but things started to go downhill from there.
Jose Reyes singled to right, and Nolan Arenado followed with an infield single to load the bases. Carlos Gonzalez then hit a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall for a decisive grand slam. The Nationals now find themselves 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East.
It was the first time since June 24 that Storen allowed a run.
"He has had a very good season for us. It just wasn't his night," Williams said. "We had the lead and had it set up for our bullpen the way we want to have it set up. The guy we wanted in the eighth inning for sure. It didn't go our way tonight."
Storen made no excuses for the outcome.
"I had a couple of guys get on base for various reasons," Storen said. "I made one bad pitch. It was a fastball over the plate to a really good hitter. It's kind of the nature of business."
The first pitch of the at-bat was a fastball off the plate, and Gonzalez was expecting another one, which he crushed.
"I think that pitch set the table," Gonzalez said. "And I said, 'OK, he might try to do the same thing not to let me extend my arms.' I was just ready. I just threw my hands really quick to the ball and I found the barrel."