Werth's big triple backs stellar Strasburg vs. Rox
By Thomas Harding and Dargan Southard
DENVER -- Jayson Werth's two-out, two-run triple in the eighth inning gave the Nationals their second straight victory, 4-1, over the Rockies at Coors Field on Wednesday night. Washington moved to 3 1/2 games behind the National League East-leading Mets, and sent the Rockies to their eighth loss in the last nine games.
Werth's game-winner off Rafael Betancourt (2-4) meant Nats starter Stephen Strasburg (7-6) received his first career win at Coors Field as a reward for seven, two-hit innings. Werth, who also doubled in the fifth, entered the series with a .184 batting average. But because he also had two hits in Tuesday night's win over the Rockies, he recorded consecutive multi-hit games for the first time since early May.
"I went down after my second at-bat and had [batting practice pitcher] Ali [Modami] throw me some balls and felt like something clicked a little bit," Werth said. "Hopefully, I can hold onto that going forward. I felt a lot better with the rest of the game and the at-bats. I've been saying I've been close."
Before Werth's hit, scoring was limited to wild pitches. The Rockies' Ben Paulsen reached on a two-base error by Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and scored on Strasburg's bouncer. Rockies reliever Gonzalez Germen's wild pitch with the bases loaded and two down in the seventh let Bryce Harper score to tie the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Traffic control: Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa went six innings and saw 10 baserunners -- on four hits and six walks, including two intentional -- but gave a clinic in limiting damage to zero runs. In the fourth he forced a Wilson Ramos grounder after two, two-out walks, got a Danny Espinosa grounder and fanned Harper (one of his six K's) after a two-out Werth double, and saved his biggest work for the sixth. De La Rosa walked Michael Taylor intentionally to load the bases, then forced Ramos to line to shortstop Jose Reyes and struck out Strasburg. More >
"High walks, a lot of extended counts and he couldn't get any further than six innings, but he did a heck of a job, pitched out of a really tough jam in the sixth to keep us out in front," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "There were a couple [hitters] that he wasn't going to give in to. He was going to try to make them chase."
Streaking Stephen: Strasburg owned the Rockies less than two weeks ago, and it was much of the same on Wednesday night. The Rockies mustered just one runner into scoring position against the right-hander, and it came when Paulsen reached second on a two-base error. In his last 14 innings against the Rockies, Strasburg has yielded just one earned run.
"You want to go out there and be aggressive and proactive and make them swing the bats," Strasburg said. "I thought [Nationals catcher Ramos] called a great game."
Coming up empty: Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon nearly rescued Germen before any trouble arose. Germen had fanned Werth and Espinosa before Harper hit a liner to center. Blackmon tried for a sliding basket catch, but missed and the ball hit him in his right thigh. After two walks, Germen fired his run-scoring wild pitch.
A little too far: Germen's wild pitch may have tied the game in the seventh, but the Nationals ran themselves out of a potentially big inning. Yunel Escobar, who was on second when the pitch was thrown, advanced to third and rounded the base hard as catcher Nick Hundley's throw sailed over Germen's head, but Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu was backing up the play. He flipped the ball to third baseman Nolan Arenado, who easily tagged out Escobar to end the inning. Had Escobar stayed at third, Zimmerman would've batted with runners on second and third in a tie game.
"Just too many walks the last couple of nights -- 10 last night and nine tonight, just too many." -- Weiss
"It's been a little frustrating. You do all your drills and you do all your stuff in the cage, and everything feels good. Then you go in the game, and the results aren't there. So it's good that the results have been there the last couple of nights, but we've got a long way to go. We've dug ourselves a hole, so it's going to be up to us. We're going to have to get it done." -- Werth on his recent slump
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Werth's go-ahead hit was just his second triple since the start of the 2013 season.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: Max Scherzer gets the ball for the Nationals in the series finale. In six career starts against the Rockies, he is 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA, having given up more hits (38) than innings pitched (35 1/3). First pitch is at 8:40 p.m. ET.
Rockies: Lefty Yohan Flande (2-1, 4.19 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA in seven games (including a start) at Coors Field, will start the finale against the Nationals on Thursday at 6:40 p.m. MT.