Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Rockies News

Top of the order keys Rox win over Nats

July 30, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Fans have anticipated Erick Fedde's Major League debut ever since the Nationals drafted the promising prospect in the first round of the 2014 Draft. Yet when the day finally arrived on Sunday, with around 50 of Fedde's family members in attendance, the Rockies spoiled the occasion, scoring seven

WASHINGTON -- Fans have anticipated Erick Fedde's Major League debut ever since the Nationals drafted the promising prospect in the first round of the 2014 Draft. Yet when the day finally arrived on Sunday, with around 50 of Fedde's family members in attendance, the Rockies spoiled the occasion, scoring seven runs (five earned) off the rookie over four innings in their 10-6 victory at Nationals Park.
"The advantage always goes to the pitcher in a first-time meeting," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "But today our guys stayed on the stuff. The kid's got a good arm."
After also winning Saturday's contest, the Rockies have clinched their first road series victory since taking three out of four against the Cubs at Wrigley Field from June 8-11. Colorado, which holds one of the two National League Wild Cards entering Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader, had lost six straight away series entering this three-game set.
Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado -- the Rockies' top-of-the-order hitters -- combined to go 10-for-13 with six runs and five RBIs. Colorado attacked Fedde early, plating four runs over the opening three frames.
"It all starts with Charlie and DJ," Arenado said. "I feel like I'm always hitting with men on second and third, [with] less than two [outs], and it's all because of them. ... They've been incredible."
Ryan Zimmerman tied the game at 4 in the third inning with the first of two home runs on the day. But the Rockies responded the following inning with three RBI singles to take a 7-4 edge they wouldn't surrender.
"Those guys are the best in the world for a reason, and it's something I think I can do a better job at -- executing two-strike pitches," Fedde said. "It was something that hurt me today. I'm definitely not happy with the results, but I felt like my stuff was pretty good. I guess a lot of balls landed in good spots for them, but it's one where I still need to make better pitches and get better results."
Rockies starter Kyle Freeland -- a fellow rookie -- was shaky all afternoon, but benefited from stellar defense to permit four runs (three earned) over five innings and outduel his young counterpart. The Nationals loaded the bases and scored a run in the ninth, but Greg Holland forced a double play to preserve the Rockies' victory.
Calming the storm: After the Rockies took a 7-4 lead in the fourth inning, the Nationals had runners on first and second with one out in their half of the frame with the middle of the lineup due up. But Freeland escaped danger by striking out Bryce Harper before forcing Zimmerman to fly out.
"The middle of their order -- pretty much their whole order -- they're similar to us, in that they can open the floodgates," Freeland said.
Rox get two on obstruction call: An obstruction call against Nats shortstop Adrian Sanchez led to two unearned runs against Fedde in the fourth. With Carlos Gonzalez at second and Trevor Story at first, Ryan Hanigan singled into right field. Rockies third-base coach Stu Cole tried to hold Gonzalez at third, but he headed home when he saw Story rounding second. The throw to third from right fielder Harper beat Story.
However, second-base umpire Mark Wegner spotted that Sanchez's left shoulder made contact with Story and awarded Story third. Had Story returned to second, the obstruction call would have been nullified.
Speed is the calling card of Rockies rookie Raimel Tapia. He opened the ninth with a grounder straight to Nats center fielder Brian Goodwin but beat the throw to second for a double. According to Statcast™, he hit a top speed of 30.3 feet per second -- his fastest double and his eighth-fastest play this season. Tapia's average top speed of 29.6 feet per second entering the game had him tied for fourth on the Statcast™ Sprint Speed Leaderboard.
Zimmerman hit his 238th career homer in the third inning, passing Frank Howard for the most home runs in D.C. baseball history. The long ball came off Freeland to knot the game at 4. It marked another milestone for Zimmerman in the midst of one of his best career seasons, as he set the Nats/Expos home run record July 17.

After returning to the dugout, Zimmerman popped up on the field to wave at the Nats faithful, who gave him a standing ovation.
"Any time that happens, it's a great feeling," Zimmerman said. "I've been very lucky to play my entire career here. Like we've talked about in the past, I've grown up here. Myself and the fan base, I think we've grown together. And to be able to share that with them is cool." More >
Is there a play Arenado -- a four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner -- can't make? Well, if you think he can be stumped on an an almost-blind, over-the-head catch play while running 107 feet for a foul ball down the left-field line, think again. That's exactly what Arenado did with Anthony Rendon batting to open the fifth.
Most of the otherworldly plays Arenado makes, he practices them. This one, well, the closest to practice is fooling around with a football during the winter.

"I work out with my trainer in the offseason, and we do football tosses like that," he said. "Other than that, not too much -- just instincts and hoping Tapia [the left fielder] would call me off, and he didn't.
"I went right and I put my [sunglasses] down and couldn't pick it up, so I flipped them back up, turned and just kept going."
First baseman Gerardo Parra and shortstop Story also made strong plays on line drives that allowed Freeland to make it through the fifth in line for the win.

After Holland forced Howie Kendrick into a double play to end the game, the Nationals challenged that Story didn't tag second base and Rendon was safe. However, the call stood and the fans erupted in boos as they headed for the exits.

Road team: Righty Jon Gray (3-1, 5.84 ERA) comes into Sunday's nightcap with the Nationals (5:40 p.m. MT) on a good note. He gave up a two-run homer in the first inning of his last start -- a no-decision at St. Louis -- but didn't give up another run and departed after five frames.
Nationals:Edwin Jackson (1-1, 4.76 ERA) will look to regroup from his previous start when the Nats play the second game of their doubleheader vs. the Rockies at Nationals Park. The right-hander surrendered seven runs over five innings in his last outing -- his second start with the Nationals since 2012. The 15-year veteran is 1-4 with 10.80 ERA in 14 career appearances against Rockies.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for based in Washington.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.