Helton helps Rockies down NationalsJun 26, 2012 - 5:44 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Todd Helton's sacrifice fly in the sixth inning proved to be the difference as the Colorado Rockies downed the Washington Nationals, 4-2, in the opener of a four-game set.
Dexter Fowler added two hits, an RBI and a run scored, while Rafael Betancourt left the tying runs on base in the ninth to earn his 12th save of the year for Colorado, which won for the third time in five games.
Josh Roenicke (3-0) received the win with two innings of scoreless relief in place of starter Jeff Francis, who allowed two runs on five hits over five innings.
"It was a really good ball game and we pitched," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "We pitched all the way through."
Stephen Strasburg (9-2) gave up three runs on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in six full frames to suffer his first road loss of the season. He had been 5-0 through seven road starts entering Monday's game.
"I went out there and pounded the strike zone," Strasburg said. "It seemed they were just hitting it right beyond our gloves, basically."
Strasburg also had a run-scoring double as the Nationals lost for the third time in four tries.
Betancourt entered for the ninth and fanned Ian Desmond to start the frame before back-to-back singles by Tyler Moore and Jesus Flores placed the tying runs on the bases.
But Betancourt retired pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina on a hard liner to right before Danny Espinosa hit a slow bouncer to second to end the game.
Washington struck first in the third inning when Flores led off with a single, advanced to second on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt and crossed the plate on Ryan Zimmerman's two-out double down the first-base line.
But the Rockies quickly knotted the game in the bottom of the frame after Wilin Rosario hit a leadoff double and later came home on Fowler's two-out, infield single.
The Nationals, though, regained the lead in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Flores and Strasburg.
After Washington squandered Desmond's two-out triple in the top of the sixth inning, Colorado was able to go on top for good in the home sixth.
Fowler opened the inning with a triple into the right-field corner and after Marco Scutaro was hit in the head with a pitch that knocked him out of the game, Carlos Gonzalez singled to right to score Fowler.
Michael Cuddyer followed with a base hit to load the bases before Helton lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, plating pinch-runner Chris Nelson, who replaced Scutaro.
Jordan Pacheco was then intentionally walked to fill the bags again, but Strasburg fanned Rosario and induced an inning-ending grounder to short by Jonathan Herrera to keep it a 3-2 game.
Eric Young worked a pinch-hit walk off Tom Gorzelanny, stole second and came home on Nelson's single to right in the seventh to give Colorado a two-run advantage.
With a game-time temperature of 100 degrees, it was the hottest home game in Rockies history...Francis struck out five and did not issue a walk...Strasburg had his six-start win streak snapped...The Rockies have won eight of their last 11 games against Washington.
- WASHINGTON: 2
Jun 25 11:23 PM
- Chris Nelson singled to right scoring Eric Young Jr. with one out. Runner on first and Carlos Gonzalez due up.
Nationals 2, Rockies 4 Bot 7, 1 OutJun 25 10:52 PM
- Jordan Pacheco walked. Bases loaded with one out and Wilin Rosario due up.
Nationals 2, Rockies 3 Bot 6, 1 OutJun 25 10:27 PM
- Carlos Gonzalez singled to right scoring Dexter Fowler with none out. On the play, Chris Nelson advances to second. Runners on first and second and Michael Cuddyer due up.
Nationals 2, Rockies 2 Bot 6, 0 OutsJun 25 10:21 PM
- Ryan Zimmerman grounded out third to first to end the inning.
Nationals 2, Rockies 1 Mid 5Jun 25 9:52 PM
- Dexter Fowler singled to short scoring Wilin Rosario with two out. Runner on first and Marco Scutaro due up.
Nationals 1, Rockies 1 Bot 3, 2 OutsJun 25 9:28 PM
- Ryan Zimmerman doubled to right scoring Jesus Flores with two out. On the play, Danny Espinosa advances to third. Runners on second and third and Michael Morse due up.
Nationals 1, Rockies 0 Top 3, 2 OutsJun 25 9:21 PM
- WASHINGTON: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jun 25 8:42 PM
- Report: Rockies, Morneau agree to two-year deal Wed
- Astros acquire Fowler from Rockies Tue
- Nats acquire Fister from Tigers Mon
- A's acquire Abad from Nationals Nov 25
- Nationals sign Young, Alfaro to minor league deals Nov 20
- Rockies to add Hawkins to the bullpen Nov 19
- Rockies' Belisle to return in 2014 Nov 4
- Nationals officially name Matt Williams manager Oct 31
- Nats' Strasburg, Harper undergo surgeries Oct 26
- Matt Williams to become new Nationals manager Oct 25
- Rockies give Weiss three-year extension Oct 15
- Rockies clip Dodgers in Helton's final game Sep 29