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Nats beat Rockies in Harper's return

Jul 1, 2014 - 3:01 AM Washington, DC ( - Ian Desmond stroked the go-ahead three- run double during the sixth inning, and Bryce Harper had an RBI in his return to the lineup, as the Washington Nationals topped Colorado, 7-3, Monday night.

Harper, who hadn't played with the Nationals since April 25 because of a torn ligament in the left thumb, singled home a run in the fourth and scored on Desmond's hit down the left field line.

Jordan Zimmermann (6-4) allowed seven hits and two runs, and fanned five over six innings to move his record to 5-0 in seven lifetime starts against the Rockies.

Ryan Zimmerman, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice. Adam LaRoche launched a second-deck homer in the seventh inning in Washington's third straight victory.

Yohan Flande (0-1) surrendered six hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings in his second major league start.

Troy Tulowitzki knocked in a run and scored twice for the Rockies, who have lost 12 of their last 14 games.

Zimmerman, playing third base for the first time since April 12, had a nice defensive play to end the top of the seventh. He dove to snag Charlie Blackmon's line drive and threw across the diamond to double off Corey Dickerson at first base.

The Nationals, who fielded their Opening Day lineup for only the second time all season, broke through with the first run. Zimmerman doubled with two outs in the fourth and Harper, who returned to a standing ovation in his first at- bat in the second, bounced a hit into center field.

Back-to-back doubles from Drew Stubbs and Tulowitzki started the sixth and tied the game. Justin Morneau singled to center, and two batters later Ryan Wheeler lifted a sacrifice fly to center. Denard Span made a perfect one-hop throw to the plate, but catcher Wilson Ramos dropped the ball.

Anthony Rendon singled and Jayson Werth walked to begin the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Rob Scahill replaced Flande. Zimmerman doubled down the left field line. Harper was intentionally walked, and Desmond then brought all the runners in for a 5-2 lead.

"He was patient enough to get a ball up in the zone," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Desmond. "When he hits strikes it's pretty special ... good night for him."

Desmond is now 6-for-6 with 14 RBI the bases loaded this season. He is a career .444 with the bases full for his career.

"I'd rather not have to face Desmond with the bases loaded, but at that point we're trying to get through the inning," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of making a possible pitching change.

Desmond stole third and scored on a Ramos groundout, a bouncer back to the mound. Catcher Wilin Rosario had his foot off the plate on the throw home.

LaRoche homered to the second deck in right off Scahill with one out in the seventh before Tulowitzki scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.

Game Notes

Washington has won five of the last seven meetings ... Christian Friedrich (0-2) pitches for Colorado and Stephen Strasburg (6-6) for Washington in the middle contest of this three-game set Tuesday ... The Nationals, who activated Harper from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game, opened a roster spot by optioning relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A Syracuse ... The Rockies placed right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of shoulder inflammation. The team recalled reliever Chad Bettis to take Chacin's spot.