One year after Davey Johnson took over as manager in Washington, the Nationals have the best record in the NL.
Riding back-to-back big offensive performances, the Nationals look for a third consecutive victory over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday at Coors Field.
After falling 4-2 at Colorado on Monday, Washington (43-30) pounded out a season-high 21 hits in a 12-5 win the next night and recorded 14 during an 11-5 win Wednesday.
The Nationals' latest victory came one year to the day from when Johnson managed his first game for the club after Jim Riggleman abruptly resigned days earlier. Since Johnson took over, Washington is 83-73, and as the All-Star break nears, the Nationals have the third-best mark in the majors.
"It's an exciting time for us and an exciting time for D.C.," said rookie outfielder Bryce Harper , who had two hits Wednesday.
Rookie Tyler Moore and Ryan Zimmerman each homered for a second straight game for the Nationals, who have not scored at least 10 runs in three straight contests since June 10-13, 1995, when the franchise was based in Montreal.
"Our whole lineup, one through nine, is swinging the bats well," Harper said.
Moore is hitting .455 (15 for 33) since being recalled from Triple-A on June 7."I'm completely 'see ball, hit ball," ' said Moore, who has five RBIs over the past two nights. "Dumb it down for me I'll be at my best."
Zimmerman is 8 for 17 with six RBIs in the last four games after going 5 for 48 in his previous 12. He's batting .380 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 25 games at Coors Field.
Scheduled Washington starter Edwin Jackson (4-4, 2.91 ERA) has not been nearly as effective at Coors, where he's allowed 21 runs, 24 hits and walked eight over 12 innings spanning three starts. He yielded 10 of those runs in 2 1-3 innings in his last start in Denver, a 12-1 loss for Arizona on April 27, 2010.
Jackson, however, is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA this month. The right-hander retired the first 12 batters he faced and gave up a homer in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-1 victory at Baltimore on Saturday.
"It was just one of those days you don't have blow-away stuff," Jackson said. "You just have to go out and pitch."
Jackson could get plenty of support if Washington hitters stay hot against a Colorado starting staff that is 0-14 with a 9.42 ERA in 20 games since Christian Friedrich won at Arizona on June 4.
Josh Outman (0-3, 8.64) hopes to earn that elusive victory Thursday when he makes his sixth straight start since leaving the bullpen. The left-hander was staked to an 8-0 lead Saturday but allowed five runs and exceeded the 75-pitch limit manager Jim Tracy has set for his starters by throwing 92 in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-7 win at Texas.
"The only person I can be aggravated at is myself," Outman told the Rockies' official website.
This will be his first appearance against the Nationals.
Carlos Gonzalez is batting .449 during a 16-game home hitting streak for Colorado (28-46). He's 3 for 5 with two doubles and a triple against Jackson.
Teammate Dexter Fowler is 10 for 19 with two homers and six runs scored in his last five contests.
|June 24, 2012||Xavier Nady||15-Day DL||Right wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2012||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Oblique soreness|
|June 11, 2012||Roger Bernadina||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|June 10, 2012||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|June 06, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained right index finger|
|May 30, 2012||Carlos Maldonado||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 17, 2012||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Sore right hamstring|
|June 03, 2012||Juan Nicasio||15-Day DL||Strained left knee|
|June 02, 2012||Jordan Pacheco||Day-to-Day||Sore left quadricep|
|June 02, 2012||Juan Nicasio||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left knee|
|May 31, 2012||Troy Tulowitzki||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|May 24, 2012||Ramon Hernandez||15-Day DL||Strained muscle, left hand|
DENVER (AP) -- Marco Scutaro got a good look at Craig Stammen 's nifty sinker earlier in the game. He just didn't do a lot with it, grounding into a double play that ended the ninth inning.
The next time up, Scutaro was prepared to do better.
Scutaro hit an RBI single off Stammen with two outs in the 11th that gave Colorado an 11-10 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday after the Rockies squandered a seven-run lead.
Jonathan Herrera doubled with one out in the 11th off Stammen (3-1). After pinch-hitter Jason Giambi walked, Dexter Fowler hit a fly ball to deep center that was caught by Bryce Harper . Herrera tagged up and took third on the play, and pinch-runner Christian Friedrich later took second.
Scutaro was 13 for 68 (.191) with runners in scoring position when he came up against Stammen. Scutaro won it with a single in a seven pitch at-bat.
"Earlier I was a little more aggressive," Scutaro said. "Then when I got two strikes, I was trying pretty much to shorten my swing up and just try to make contact."
Adam Ottavino (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings and struck out five, including all three batters in the 11th.
"I think I pitch better when the game's on the line," said Ottavino, who has 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 24 innings this season. "I just came in and wanted to throw up a zero. I knew we would score eventually."
Harper sent the game into extra innings when he led off the ninth with a homer, his eighth of the season, against Rafael Betancourt . The Colorado closer is 12 for 16 in save opportunities and has blown three of his past five chances.
Tyler Colvin had a career-high four hits, including a three-run homer in Colorado's five-run first, and set a career-best with five RBIs. Chris Nelson had an RBI double in the second and scored on Colvin's single to make it 7-0.
"We made it a lot harder on ourselves than we needed to," manager Jim Tracy said.
Ryan Zimmerman had a two-run single and Michael Morse hit a three-run homer to pull Washington within two in the third.
After the Rockies scored two in the fourth on Carlos Gonzalez 's RBI single and Colvin's triple, Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer to cap Washington's four-run fifth that tied the score at 9-all.
Adam LaRoche hit a sacrifice fly, and Ian Desmond hit his 13th homer of the season in the Nationals' fifth.
The Rockies went ahead in their half of the sixth against Tom Gorzelanny when they loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk, and Gonzalez grounded into a double play.
For the second straight start, Josh Outman was staked to a big lead by the Rockies but was unable to pitch the five innings needed to qualify for a win on the 75-pitch limit Colorado is using for its four starters.
Outman, who lasted three innings and threw 67 pitches, took the mound in his final inning with the seven-run lead and gave up the five runs with two out.
Gonzalez had an RBI single and Nelson added a run-scoring infield single with the bases loaded in the five-run first against Edwin Jackson , with Gonzalez getting caught after rounding too far off third. Colvin then followed with his eighth homer of the season.
Jackson, left after yielding a leadoff single to Scutaro in the fourth, gave up season-highs in hits (10) and runs (8) in his shortest start since he lasted 2 1-3 innings at Coors Field on April 27, 2010.
"I feel the loss was on me," said Jackson, who is 0-1 with a 17.40 ERA in four starts at Coors Field. "Any time the bullpen has to come in in the fourth inning, it is not a great feeling when you are the starter that day."
NOTES: Morse left Wednesday night's game in the eighth with a tight right hamstring and stayed in the clubhouse late taking treatment. Nationals manager Davey Johnson was planning to sit Morse on Thursday but changed his mind when Morse said he was fine and able to play. ... Tracy said RF Michael Cuddyer was given a day to regroup. He entered the game in the 11th at first base. Cuddyer began the day with seven hits in his last 51 at-bats and was 2 for 12 in the first three games of the series. 1B Todd Helton hit fourth for the third time this season in Cuddyer's place, something he last did April 15, and Chris Nelson batted fifth for the first time this season. ... Rockies 3B Jordan Pacheco wasn't in the lineup due to soreness in his right quadriceps, which has bothered him off and on recently. He pinch hit in the ninth and had a sacrifice bunt. ... Jeff Francis (0-1) will start for the Rockies against the San Diego Padres on Friday. The Nationals will start Ross Detwiler (4-3) at Atlanta.