Rockies 7, Nationals 6: Nats can’t hold lead, split four-game set

The Washington Nationals fell to the Colorado Rockies Sunday, 7-6, to close out the four-game weekend series. In the four innings that there was scoring, just one of those innings had only one team score in the back-and-forth affair. The gifts given by Brad Hand and the Colorado bullpen were returned and more by the Nats’ bullpen.

Washington drew first blood in the second inning, as Stone Garrett and Lane Thomas both struck singles which were followed by a Victor Robles RBI single, and the Nats would grab their second run of the inning on a balk from Ryan Feltner. The Rockies would grab a run back off Chad Kuhl that inning though as Yonathan Daza doubled and was later scored on a double play.

The Rockies then knotted it up at 2-2 in the fourth on Elias Diaz‘s solo homer, and the two sides would trade runs in the fifth. Alex Call — who walked to lead off the inning — moved up to third on Jaimer Candelario’s single and would be driven in by an RBI groundout from Dominic Smith, though Jurickson Profar tied it right back up with a solo homer at 3-3 in the bottom half of the inning.

Then came the dramatic and chaotic sixth.

It started out with three runs from the Nats. Thomas (HBP), Call and Robles (singles) loaded the bases to start the inning, andHand — who took over mid-inning for Jake Bird — walked both Dominic Smith and Keibert Ruiz on four pitches with the bases loaded to bring in a pair of runs, before a wild pitch brought in the third run to make it 6-3 Nats. Hand finally got out of the inning by punching out Garrett.

Manager Davey Martinez decided to keep Kuhl in for the sixth, though, and it backfired. He led off the inning by giving Moustakas a free pass on four pitches and Elehuris Montero doubled to force Martinez to call on Erasmo Ramirez to try and stop the bleeding.

Only, Ramirez would instead worsen the damage. Daza’s groundout scored Moustakas and Diaz’s double scored Montero to put Colorado within one, and a pair of singles from Ezequiel Tovar and Charlie Blackmon would tie it at 6-6 — and the last straw was Ramirez belting Kris Bryant to load the bases. Ramirez was finally relieved for Hobie Harris, though it was too little too late — Harris walked Ryan McMahon on five pitches and the Rockies had a 7-6 lead.

Harris was nearly perfect from there, serving up just one hit across the seventh and eighth inning, but Washington couldn’t reacquire the offense they had from earlier, as they went down hitless in the final three innings despite eight across the first six innings. They drop to 3-7 in the young season.

The Nats continue their west coast slate with a trip further out west, as they take on the Angels in a three-game weekday slate. Here’s the upcoming schedule.

Monday @ 9:38 p.m. ET: RHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Jose Suarez

Tuesday @ 9:38 p.m. ET: RHP Josiah Gray vs. RHP Shohei Ohtani

Wednesday @ 4:07 p.m. ET: LHP MacKenzie Gore vs. TBD

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