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Rockies 9, Nationals 7: Three-run blasts by Hampson, Rodgers clinch series win

Senzatela limits damage from seven hits; Grichuk, Cron, Rodgers have multi-hit afternoons

Ladies and gentleman: Coors Field entertainment.

16 total runs were plated. Five home runs were tallied between the Rockies and Nationals. 11 total pitchers were used. 25 combined hits were recorded. Colorado found a way to outlast Washington, with the bats of Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers sealing the Rockies’ fate.

Hampson and Rodgers posted their first home runs of the year in three-run fashion — and both combined to drive in seven of the Rockies’ nine runs on Thursday afternoon.

The Nationals outhit the Rockies 15-10, and despite allowing a lot of traffic on the base paths, Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela cooked up a 4 1/3-inning start that preserved an early Rockies lead. Five hitters for the Nationals had multi-hit afternoons (to Colorado’s three), but it was timely offense for the Rockies that fueled a two-run victory.

Senzatela’s BABIP gets fascinating — again

Over his past two starts, Antonio Senzatela has given up 14 hits in 11 innings, allowing only three runs in that span. Seven of those hits came today in his 86 pitches of work, and only two earned runs were on his final line.

With only a single strikeout, it was again the results on contact that decided the fate of his start — and a timely pickoff.

Juan Soto kicked off Washington’s run scoring with a one-out home run. Josh Bell followed with a walk, and a narrow two-out threat would then yield an unearned run. Maikel Franco grounded to third and Ryan McMahon’s defensive struggles resurfaced a week after his tough showings in Philadelphia; the walk scored from first and the Nationals held an early 2-0 lead.

Senzatela had only one three-up, three-down inning this afternoon. Just one run would score off him after the first frame, however, coming from a Bell double in the fifth.

Soto was picked off third immediately after, and would have likely scored on a Yadiel Hernandez single that followed.

Senzatela’s final line: 4 13 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K

Colorado’s second-inning, fifth-inning storm

Washington starter Aaron Sanchez ran into trouble in just two innings, but the damage was significant.

McMahon led off the bottom of the second with a double to right field. Rodgers immediately followed with a double of his own, and an untimely error by Washington shortstop Alcides Escobar continued the threat with damage already done.

Hampson would then give the Rockies a lead they would never relinquish:

Colorado bats would remain hitless for the next 10 hitters, but the fifth inning turned sour for Sanchez as three additional hits were tabbed to his line. Charlie Blackmon opened the frame with a leadoff single to right field. A Randal Grichuk broken-bat single put runners on the corners, and C.J. Cron pushed across a 5-3 Colorado lead with a ground-ball single of his own.

This would be all for Aaron Sanchez on the mound, leaving two runners on.

Brendan Rodgers would then enter the chat:

Colorado held an 8-3 lead after five innings, alongside a 94% win expectancy.

Sanchez’s final line: 4 13 IP, 6 H, 7 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 4 K.

(One fewer hit, and three more strikeouts than Senzatela — but four additional earned runs.)

Colorado bullpen gets shaky

Jhoulys Chacín was able to get big for Senzatela to end the fifth with an inning-ending double play. He returned for the fifth and allowed a leadoff home run to Keibert Ruiz, however, cutting the Rockies lead to four.

Chacín would otherwise work a low-stress four outs, handing the ball to Robert Stevenson for the seventh. Facing the heart of the Nationals’ order, Stevenson allowed a Soto walk and a Bell single. A double play by Yadiel Hernandez would quiet the noise, but a double to by Maikel Franco would close the book on Stephenson through just 23 of an inning. His ERA now sits at a 7.71.

Colorado’s hottest reliever, Tyler Kinley, entered with two outs in the seventh. He immediately allowed a double, but would then escape with an inning-ending groundout. Despite one inherited runner scoring, Kinley’s ERA has now dropped to a 0.86.

The Rockies held an 8-6 lead with 12 outs remaining. A solo home run by Randal Grichuk gave the Rockies a three-run lead in the seventh, and manager Bud Black gave the ball to Alex Colomé in the following half-inning — a pitcher without an appearance since last Friday.

Colomé allowed a leadoff double to Victor Robles, coming around to score on two consecutive groundouts. Juan Soto’s second hit of the afternoon would then land for a double, but a groundout would end the threat despite damage being done. 9-7 Rockies.

Bard collects save number eight in back-to-back fashion

Daniel Bard was the guy for the ninth. Cue the Pearl Jam.

Only one batter reached base on Bard, a one-out single that was quickly limited with a fielder’s choice and groundout. It wasn’t the strikeout-laden performance from Bard that fans might be accustomed to, but for saves in consecutive days, it certainly got the job done.

Ballgame. 9-7.

Let’s catch a plane to the desert.

Up Next

Colorado’s evening flight will land them in Phoenix, Arizona for the first time since spring training. They will open a three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday at 7:40 p.m. MDT (6:40 p.m. Arizona local).

With outside temperatures expected in the 100’s, you better believe that roof at Chase Field will be closed.

The Diamondbacks are coming off a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins, winning a trio of intense one-run contests. Arizona had the day off today and their bullpen needed it more than most teams in the league.

Two of the hottest arms on each team will toe the rubber on Friday night: Chad Kuhl and Merrill Kelly. The right-handed Kelly holds the best ERA in the National League right now (1.27; 28 13 IP), while Kuhl’s 0.845 WHIP is no joke either.