Nats swept in Denver, fall 4-3 to Rockies

Colorado Rockies swept a day-night doubleheader from the Washington Nationals on Saturday, 4-3.

The Rockies got to Luis Atilano with a pair of homers in the third inning, and a costly error by Ian Desmond (that could have been charged to Adam Dunn for not handling the throw) in the seventh gave Colorado the 4-3 lead that would hold.

Manager Jim Riggleman on Atilano’s outing: “Luis did a good job. A couple of times he walked some guys. He was behind a lot of guys, whether he walked them or not, he was just getting behind. He kept us in the ballgame.”

“He must be tough to see because the gun is not lighting up. But he gets pretty good hitters to take some bad at bats. Finally, a couple of those lefthanders got him in that one inning.”

Jim Riggleman talks with Bob and Rob about the Nats’ 4-3 loss to the Rockies

Manny Corpas came on in the ninth, as he did in game one, and put the Nats down in order for his first save of the season.

Starter Jason Hammel went six innings, allowed three runs with seven strikeouts and no walks for his first win of the year (1-2).

The Rockies now lead the four-game set two games to one.

After scoring 14 runs in the first game of the series (in 8 innings), the Nats managed just five runs in the last 18 innings facing Rockies pitching.

The Rockies got on the board in the third.

Carlos Gonzalez slammed a 2-run shot right around the right field foul pole on an 0-2 pitch. It was a 73 mile per hour breaking ball on the lower half of the plate.

On the very next pitch, Seth Smith hit a solo shot over the right center field fence. Colorado led 3-0.

Roger Bernadina had the only base hit off of Hammel in the first three innings.

Then in the fourth, Bernadina delivered a two-run double that scored Ryan Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman to get the Nats back in the game, 3-2, Colorado.

Luis Atilano lasted 5 innings allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts, but two home runs. He threw 93 pitches with 59 for strikes. Atilano relies on the sinker as his best pitch and there were times it just wasn’t sinking Saturday night.

In the 6th inning, Adam Dunn hit his 9th homer of the season with two outs to tie the game at 3. It was Dunn’s 2nd homer of the day. The Nationals have now homered in 12 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the majors.

The Rockies took the lead again for good in the 7th inning. Paul Phillips led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice. Phillips then went to third base on a line out to center and scored on a ball deflected by Sean Burnett that Ian Desmond threw to Adam Dunn on one hop. Dunn could not handle it and the runner was safe, and the Rockies led 4-3.

Burnett took the loss (0-1) for allowing the unearned run in the seventh.

Zimmerman and Bernadina each finished with a pair of hits.

Nats fall to 20-17, now three games back of the first place Phillies in the N.L. East.

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