Starters keep game scoreless early (Desmond 5-for-5 in 7-2 win)

The Nationals looked to settle in against the Rockies’ Franklin Morales, who was making his first start against the D.C. club after five previous relief appearances. And the third inning was the time. Especially against a reliever-turned-starter, who you would expect would run out of ways to get you out.

But Morales was up to the task. With one out in the third, Denard Span walked and Anthony Rendon hit into a fielder’s choice. Jayson Werth then singled to right to put two men with two outs. But Adam LaRoche was unable to find a way to get on base and struck out.

Meanwhile, right-hander Doug Fister, making his first start in 12 days and his first start at Coors Field, struck out four batters in the first three innings, but the sinkerball pitcher only had two groundouts among those first nine outs.

No score through three innings in Denver.

Update: In the fourth inning, five straight Nationals batters reached base to start a nice rally. Ryan Zimmerman singled and Ian Desmond crushed a two-run shot over the left field wall. The Nationals led 2-0 on Desmond’s 17th homer of the season.

Wilson Ramos singled and Danny Espinosa delivered a run-scoring double to make 3-0. Espinosa scored on a pair of throwing errors to make it 4-0.

Update II: The Rockies notched five singles and a walk in the sixth against Fister. Nolan Arenado had a RBI single and the Rockies got on the board. Ben Paulsen added another run-scoring single and suddenly the Nationals led 4-2. Wilin Rosario connected with a single to put men on the corners. DJ LeMahieu walked to load the bases and Fister’s night was over.

Aaron Barrett struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes to end the threat.

Fister worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches, 57 for strikes.

Update III: In the seventh, Zimmerman walked and Desmond singled. Ramos then added a run-scoring single to make it 5-2 Nationals. Later, Desmond scored on a wild pitch to make 6-2.

Update IV: Desmond finished with five hits in the Nats’ 7-2 win over the Rockies. Espinosa and Desmond drove in two runs apiece.

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