DENVER - In a park where the ball absolutely flies, the Nationals held a beat-up Rockies squad to just two runs while the Washington offense just kept on clicking.
The Nats pounded out 13 hits, four of the extra-base variety, and Doug Fister picked up his ninth victory in 13 starts this season as the Nationals took the opener of this three-game set 7-2.
Ian Desmond went 5-for-5 with a two-run homer, Danny Espinosa had a double and a triple in a rare start and Aaron Barrett kept the Rockies from getting back into the game by working out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to keep it a two-run Nats advantage.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the win:
On if he knew the Rockies would make a run at some point tonight in this hitter-friendly ballpark: “Well, you hope not. But experience tells you yeah. You’re never out of a game here, you’re never comfortable in a game here. They put together a pretty good inning against Doug. The ball that CarGo (Carlos Gonzalez) hit up the middle, Doug got out of the way and turned his ankle a little bit. So he’s a little sore there. I don’t think there’s any issue with it, but twisted it a little bit as he was trying to get out of the way. And they put together a good inning.”
On if the ankle issue affected Fister in the sixth: “I don’t know. He was on the bases a lot, he ran the bases a lot. All those things contribute. Light air, all of it. I think the ball started to elevate a bit. That’s why they got some hits.”
On Barrett’s clutch strikeout of Brandon Barnes to end the sixth: “I think that position is comfortable for him, more comfortable. Because he’s in that position a lot. Recently, he’s been going an inning and facing some left-handers, and that got him in trouble a little bit. That situation tonight is the one that we’ve brought him in all year. He’s comfortable there. He made some good pitches.”
On the Rockies making it a game in the sixth: “It’s never easy here. They hit very well here. They’re banged up really bad. So they’re not at full strength. We know that feeling very well. But we’ve still got to make pitches and make plays. Desi had a great night, Wilson had a couple of hits. Really happy for Danny. He had a great night, as well. It’s a good overall effort.”
On Espinosa’s night: “I think he was a little more calm. First time up he hit the first pitch into a double play. Next time up, he hit that double to left-center. The last time up, I’m really happy with - and I know he is, too. He got a good fastball to hit and didn’t overswing. Lined it to right-center for a triple and to drive in a run. It’s really good for him.”
On Desmond’s big offensive performance: “He hit, I think it was a curveball, the first time up. Then I thought he just stayed middle of the diamond and didn’t overswing. He hit a couple of balls back through the middle, one the other way. When he’s seeing it and going good, that’s what you’ll see. He’s got pull power, certainly and can hit over the fence at any time. But when he’s really swinging it well and seeing it well, he’s getting a lot of singles, too.”
On if Kevin Frandsen is OK after limping down the line on a ninth-inning grounder: “Rolled his ankle. Went to swing, went to stride, and caught a spike and rolled it. I don’t even know how he made contact, but he rolled his ankle. He’s got some ice on it right now. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”