Murphy, Desmond Go Deep in Rockies Win Over Nationals

Both Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy hit solo shots in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game and the Rockies went on to beat the Nationals 8-7 to prevent a sweep of the four game series. Wade Davis struck out the side in the ninth, but did issue a walk to pick up his 15th save. Fernando Rodney is running low on arrows as he dropped to 0-4, blowing his second save by giving up the two runs in the ninth.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals. Normally a quick worker, Nate was a little more methodical in this game. He did have a bad inning in the fourth when he gave up an RBI single to Ryan McMahon and a two run shot to Garrett Hampson that easily found the centerfield bleachers that gave the Rockies an early 3-0 lead. Scherzer only went five innings, striking out eight.

Jeff Hoffman looked solid in the first four innings with his 96 mile per hour fastball tough to hit after hitters saw his mid 70s curveball. He gave up just two hits, but walked three and hit one batter, an explanation for his 6.60 ERA coming into the ball game. In the fifth the Nationals finally got to him with a Trea Turner single and a walk to Adam Eaton putting two runners on for Anthony Rendon. Rendon did not disappoint, hitting a high shot into the left field bull pen, just over the glove of a leaping Raimel Tapia to tie the game at 3-3.

As with many teams, the bullpen has been a big disappointment for the Nationals. Matt Grace came on in relief of Scherzer to face four lefties in the sixth. He could only retire two of them. Daniel Murphy hit a single and Ryan McMahon blasted a pitch deep into the right field bleachers to give the Rockies the lead again, 5-3.

The Rockies also went to their pen, calling on Bryan Shaw. After retiring the first hitter he walked Brian Dozier and Victor Robles. Brian took advantage of a disinterested Shaw and stole third, taking off while Shaw was still in his stretch. Robles took off for second on the pitch and the throw from the catcher Wolters was late. Pinch hitter Gerrado Parra took advantage of the gaffe, lining a double into right center to score both and tie the game. Trea Turner blooped a single over the head of the shortstop scoring Parra and giving the Nationals a 6-5 lead.

Tanner Rainey and Tony Sipp combined to put up a zero in the seventh but Rainey put two runners on. Sipp was able to snag a hard ground ball up the middle to end the inning. Matt Adams deposited a pitch into the right field bleachers in the bottom of the seventh to give the Nationals a 7-5 lead. It looked pretty good for the Nationals to complete the sweep.

Sipp stayed in to pitch to the lefties coming up. Daniel Murphy clobbered a 3-2 pitch deep into the right field bleachers to lead off the inning. With Sean Doolittle not available Fernando Rodney came on in the ninth to protect a one run lead. Ian Desmond did not make the lead last long with a leadoff homerun just over the flower beds in the centerfield bleachers. Rodney had trouble finding the plate, walking Blackmon, striking out Trevor Story but having the pitch sail to the back stop for a wild pitch to advance Blackmon to second. A single into left field put runners on first and third with one out. Daniel Murphy hit a slow grounder to the left of Rendon. His natural throw was to second, Turner pivoted with a throw to first but Murphy just beat the throw, Blackmon scoring the go ahead run.

Juan Soto was able to walk in the ninth and steal second but the Nationals could not bring him in.

Game Notes: Jeff Hoffman baffles hitters with a slow curve at 76 and then mixes in his mid to plus 90s fastball. Finding more control of his curve and issuing less walks would lower that ERA. He walked four in five innings and now has issued 17 walks in 38 innings. He also has given up 8 homeruns…The victory was only the Rockies third in their last 20 games. That has probably put them in the seller’s category…With Max Scherzer coming back from the IL with a bursa sac issue and the bullpen taxed from a double header the previous day, it may not have been ideal to pitch Scherzer if you felt he was only going to give you five innings and your closer Sean Doolittle was not available…Austin Voth does not look like he will be available as a fifth starter. He has been shut down with shoulder tendinitis…Northern Virginia resident and World Cup soccer star Ali Krieger threw out the first pitch for Thursday’s game.

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