Tuesday, July 01, 2014
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Desmond provides big hit as Nats beat Rockies

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[July 01, 2014]  WASHINGTON -- Ian Desmond jogged back to second base and raised his right arm above his head, then clapped his arms while looking into the Washington Nationals' dugout.

The Washington shortstop just broke a 2-2 tie with a bases-clearing, three-run double in the sixth inning as the Nationals scored five runs in the frame.

Mired in a 1-for-15 slump entering the game, Desmond got untracked on a night the Nationals welcomed left fielder Bryce Harper back to the starting lineup in a 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. Harper drew an intentional walk before Desmond came through with the big hit before 33,660 fans as the Nationals earned their third consecutive victory and fifth in eight outings.

"I was fired up. To have such a deep lineup is huge," Harper said. "Desi came up with the big hit and fired this place up."

The Rockies lost for the ninth time in 11 games and ended June with an 8-20 record for the month.

"I think it was a curveball," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said of the hit by Desmond against reliever Rob Scahill. "I would rather not face Desmond with the bases loaded. Desmond got a big hit for them."

Jordan Zimmermann (6-4) got the win to improve to 5-0 in his career against the Rockies. In six innings, he allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five.

"He is a really good pitcher. We saw him here last year," Weiss said. "I thought we approached him pretty well. We put some pretty good at-bats against him."

Said Zimmermann, who threw 87 pitches: "I only had two pitches: fastball and slider. I mixed them up pretty good. I just didn't have a very good feel in the bullpen (with the curve)."

Zimmermann was glad to see Harper back in the lineup.

"He is a big bat for us," Zimmermann said. "It is one of the best lineups in baseball."

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (three hits) tied the game with an RBI double in the sixth after Weiss lifted starter Yohan Flande in favor of Scahill.

"I wasn't really comfortable with the Zimmerman matchup," Weiss said. "It didn't work out."

After Harper was intentionally walked, Desmond increased his team-leading RBI total to 49 with his 27th extra-base hit of the season.

Catcher Wilson Ramos drove in a run on a fielder's choice to make it 6-2 and cap the five-run barrage in the sixth.

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First baseman Adam LaRoche crushed an 0-2 pitch from Scahill for a solo homer in the seventh to make it 7-2.
 
 The Rockies scored two runs in the sixth to take a 2-1 lead. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki doubled home the first run and then scored on third baseman Ryan Wheeler's sacrifice fly as Ramos couldn't handle a short-hop throw from center fielder Denard Span.
 
 Tulowitzki scored on a wild pitch in the eighth to make it 7-3 against reliever Aaron Barrett. Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless ninth for the Nationals.
 
 Flande (0-1) gave up three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings before giving way to Scahill.
 
 Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau had three hits but did not score or drive in a run.
 
 NOTES: The Nationals activated OF Bryce Harper from the disabled list after he missed 57 games with a left thumb sprain. LHP Xavier Cedeno was sent back to Triple-A Syracuse. Harper, who hit an RBI single in the fourth inning, returned on the same day as his bobblehead night at Nationals Park. ... Colorado put RHP Jhoulys Chacin (right shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day disabled list and called up RHP Chad Bettis from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Bettis, who made the Opening Day roster, is in his fourth stint with the Rockies this season. ... The scheduled starters for Tuesday's game are Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-6, 3.70) against Colorado LHP Christian Friedrich (0-2, 8.10). ... Colorado OF Corey Dickerson, who was nursing a sore hamstring, was held out of the starting lineup. He entered in a double switch and finished 1-for-2.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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