Gonzalez homers to lead Rockies past Nationals 2-1
WASHINGTON (AP) — Carlos Gonzalez has watched a lot Colorado Rockies relievers work over the years. He definitely likes what he’s seeing now.
Gonzalez homered and had a sacrifice fly to drive in both of Colorado’s runs, and the bullpen threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in the Rockies’ third straight victory, a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
Scott Oberg (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief for the win and Wade Davis, the last of five relievers, worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save.
“This year and last, obviously, they’re horses,” Gonzalez said. “They go out there and we feel confident playing behind them knowing that they’re going to keep the game the same.”
Gonzalez gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with his third homer of the season, and hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Bryce Harper hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth for Washington, which has scored five runs while losing its last three games.
“As a team, I think we’re having good at-bats,” Harper said. “Plugging along the best we can.”
Washington’s Tanner Roark (1-1) allowed two runs— one earned — and three hits over six innings.
Rockies starter Kyle Freeland left with two outs in the fifth, allowing a run and four hits. He pitched out of jams in the first and third innings, but allowed the tying run before departing.
“Kyle, you know he bobbed and weaved his way through 4 2/3 innings, kept us there,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The game, with one swing, could have went the other way and it didn’t.”
Roark didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, when Gonzalez homered to center off a 2-0 changeup.
“If our pitching continues to give us a chance to win, we’re going to start winning these games,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I know we are. I’m not worried about that.”
Gonzalez didn’t hit his third home run last season until late May.
“I never consider myself a power hitter,” he said. “When the home run comes, it’s just a really good swing to a really good pitch and that means I’m under control, I’m not chasing bad pitches.”
DJ LeMahieu reached on shortstop Trea Turner’s error to start the sixth, went to third on Gerardo Parra’s single, and scored on Gonzalez’s fly to right.
3B Anthony Rendon left the game after fouling a ball off his left big toe in the fifth inning. Martinez said X-rays were negative. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Martinez said.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER
After Sunday’s finale, the Rockies and Nationals don’t meet again until the final series of the season, Sept. 28-30 at Colorado.
Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (five games) and Parra (four) received suspensions from Major League Baseball for their roles in Wednesday’s brawl with the Padres. Arenado charged the mound after San Diego’s Luis Perdomo threw a pitch behind his back. The pair has appealed.
Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon (right quad tightness) missed his fourth straight game. Black, asked if a trip to the disabled was possible, said: “I don’t want to say no, but I think it’s more likely that he’ll play in a game before he’ll go on the DL.”
Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy (offseason knee surgery) took groundballs with a brace on his right knee. “I’m assuming that he’s going to have to wear some kind of brace (when he returns). I don’t know the size of the brace,” Martinez said. “What I do know is that I watched him run and he ran pretty good. He’s getting close.”
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (1-2, 5.63) allowed a career-high 10 hits in his last start, a loss to the Padres.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (2-1, 0.90), who threw a two-hit shutout Monday against Atlanta, is 1-4 with a 4.76 ERA in eight career starts against the Rockies.