DJ spins near-cycle to spur Rox past Nats

DJ spins near-cycle to spur Rox past Nats

DENVER -- This series between the Rockies and Nationals has featured the top three leaders in batting average in the National League. Washington boasts both Daniel Murphy (.348) and Wilson Ramos (.331), but so far it's been Colorado second baseman DJ LeMahieu (.342) who has outshined them both. LeMahieu punished the Nationals again Tuesday night, collecting three hits and finishing a double shy of the cycle to help guide the Rockies to a 6-2 victory at Coors Field.

Nationals pitchers have yet to retire LeMahieu during the first two games of this series in which he is batting 7-for-7 with a homer and a triple while increasing his batting average by 11 points. The Rockies scored three times in the seventh, including a two-run pinch-hit double by David Dahl, to help seal a victory in a game interrupted by a two-hour and five minute rain delay after the third inning.

That delay forced both Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez and Colorado right-hander Chad Bettis from the game prematurely.

"You never want to lose a starter, I think either side when you come here," Murphy said. "The starters are kind of at a premium here, you want them to go as long as you can I think this place especially."

Rusin holds down the fort: When Bettis could not return after the delay, the Rockies had to turn to longman Chris Rusin. Rusin tossed three shutout innings for the second consecutive outing, and made a case that he should take the injured Tyler Chatwood's rotation spot.

"The bullpen did a really good job," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It was nice to see the bullpen step up, especially Rusin. Any time you lose your starter or you have to bridge some innings there, and Rusin's done a great job in that role for us."

Weiss on 6-2 win over Nationals

Into the bullpen: Earlier in the day, Nationals manager Dusty Baker was hoping for a strong start from Gonzalez in order to preserve the rest of the bullpen. So a rain delay knocking Gonzalez out of the game after three innings did not do the Nationals any favors.

"That was the worst time you could have one because Gio was throwing the ball good," Baker said.

A well-rested Yusmeiro Petit gave the team three innings of one-run ball, but Oliver Perez retired only one batter but allowed two runs and Blake Treinen also allowed a run in the seventh.

Dahl's two-run double

Logan runs the gauntlet: The Rockies were running into trouble in the seventh when they called on left-hander Boone Logan with two on, one out and a two-run lead. Facing Murphy and reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper, Logan got out of the jam by coaxing a flyout to left and a groundout to first from the duo, respectively.

"There's not much to say; he knows exactly what's on the line there," Weiss said. "He knows that's his role, and he knows coming into a series -- before the first game even starts -- he knows who he's going to be facing. I'm sure he went through his matchups through his mind before this series even started."

Werth sets Nationals record: Jayson Werth set a Nationals record after reaching base in his 44th consecutive game with a single in the third inning. He can now set his sights on the franchise record set by Rusty Staub when he reached base in 46 consecutive games with the Expos between 1969-70. More >

Werth sets new Nationals record

"You never know what you get with Colorado" -- Gio Gonzalez

LeMahieu's fifth-inning triple was his seventh straight at-bat with a hit, which is two short of the Rockies' record. That streak was sandwiched by a pair of walks, and his reaching base in nine plate appearances is three short of Eric Young's 1993 record. LeMahieu also reached in nine straight plate appearances earlier this season from May 30 to June 1. More >

LeMahieu legs out a triple

Charlie Blackmon's third-inning double extended his hit streak to 11 games, the fourth time this season he has reached the mark. Blackmon is one of three hitters -- along with Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Houston's Jose Altuve -- to accomplish that feat.

Adam Ottavino worked a scoreless ninth inning to set a Rockies record of 29 2/3 straight scoreless frames for a reliever.

Ottavino sets Rockies' record

Nationals: Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (15-3, 3.07) will try to bounce back from a back-to-back short outings as the Nats close out this three-game series at Coors Field. In his last two starts, Strasburg has allowed 10 runs on 15 hits in 10 innings although he has struck out 15.

Rockies: Rookie right-hander Jon Gray (8-6, 4.55) will take the mound for the Rockies in the final game of their three-game set against the Nationals at 1:10 p.m. MT. After allowing one run or less in five straight starts, he has allowed 15 runs in eight innings over his past two starts.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Denver.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.