The Washington Nationals (33-32) were powered to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies (35-32) behind a strong offensive effort led by Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond.
In his first start since coming off the disabled list, Ross Detwiler set the table for the win. He threw 77 pitches in five complete innings, and allowed three earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts.
Detwiler gave up a single to Dexter Fowler on the first pitch he threw since he was injured on May 15. Tyler Colvin, who had to enter the game on short notice after Carlos Gonzalez was injured by a foul ball that hit him in the on-deck circle, hit another single to score Fowler. But that was the lone run of the first inning, and Detwiler settled in until the fourth inning when he allowed two more runs to score.
The offense brought the run support for their starter, though, with fantastic offensive performances by both Zimmerman and Desmond. Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, two of which came off a home run in the third inning after Detwiler notched his first hit of the year. Desmond went 4-for-4, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. Anthony Rendon also added to his career-high hitting streak of eight games by going 1-for-3.
Desmond starred in an unusual seventh inning, when the Nationals were awarded 180 feet of free bases on two balks by Rockies’ reliever Wilton Lopez. Desmond led off the inning with a single, then stole second base. During a four-pitch at-bat to Steve Lombardozzi, Lopez was called for balking twice, sending Desmond to third base and then home to tie the game.
The Nats followed the two-balk inning with some real offense in the eighth. Roger Bernadina and Zimmerman hit back-to-back doubles to give the Nationals the lead. After Adam LaRoche walked, Desmond singled to bring home another run. Rendon walked to load the bases, but Kurt Suzuki grounded out to end the inning, his third inning-ending at-bat of the day.
It seemed Suzuki was playing the role of rally killer through all four of his at-bats. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, and was responsible for leaving seven men on base, three of which were in scoring position.
Since Wilson Ramos’ second hamstring injury, Suzuki is batting .203/.247/.232 with just four walks in 73 plate appearances. Ramos was batting .250/.308/.438 with four walks in 52 plate appearances.
Though Ramos’ stats are not exponentially better than Suzuki’s, an offense that struggles to score runs as frequently as the Nats’ offense does could use the boost from a healthy Ramos. Unfortunately, that boost will not come until likely after the All-Star Break, after Ramos suffered a setback in his rehabilitation process three days ago.
With Thursday’s victory, the Nationals won their second consecutive series and moved one game over .500. The Nats have an opportunity to break their trend of being unable to secure more than two consecutive wins as they take the momentum from winning the final two games of the series to Cleveland.