- The Washington Times - Friday, July 6, 2012

With 24 runs and 37 hits during a three-game series sweep of the San Francisco Giants earlier this week, the first-place Washington Nationals used their bats to make a resounding statement.

But in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday, those same bats barely made a peep.

Throwing primarily fastballs in 6 1/3 innings of work, Rockies rookie starter Drew Pomeranz bewildered Washington, giving up one hit and striking out six, as the Nationals managed just two hits through eight innings.

“He didn’t throw many offspeed pitches, at all. And the ones he did were balls,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “Just an off night, all the way around. I think everybody in there got pitches to hit, but we did nothing with it.”

Bryce Harper’s fourth-inning bloop hit was the first of the night for the Nationals, and they wouldn’t get another one until the eighth, when Rockies reliever Matt Belisle missed an easy out on a Steve Lombardozzi infield pop up. Both base runners were stranded, though, as Washington was blanked until the bottom of the ninth.

Meanwhile, the Rockies had no problem making consistent contact. Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg, who earned his third consecutive loss Friday, allowed eight hits and three runs (two earned) in six innings, including two home runs from first baseman Tyler Colvin.

Colvin, who is in his first season in Colorado after spending three with the Cubs, is 7-for-16 in his last five games, including five home runs and 10 RBI.

Despite Colvin’s pair of bombs — a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run homer in the fourth — Washington manager Davey Johnson thought the All-Star’s outing wasn’t as bad as it may have seemed.

“He made two mistakes to Colvin,” Johnson said. “He was trying to throw the ball up and in, and he just left it out in the middle of the plate and he crushed it.”

Strasburg admitted that it was a “dumb pitch” that led to the first home run, hit just over the right field wall on an 0-2 count and moments after Jesus Flores dropped a foul pop up. And though his last three trips to the mound have resulted in losses, Strasburg didn’t seem overly concerned about curtailing those mistakes in future outings.

“All I can really think of is two pitches,” Strasburg said. “I don’t think they were the right pitches to throw in that situation, and I didn’t have the right mindset. So it should be an easy fix.”

The Nationals made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, starting with a home run by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to right center field. Right fielder Michael Morse followed with a double, and LaRoche singled to put runners on the corners. But the next three batters were silenced, and the Nationals fell short of their third straight comeback.

Shortstop Ian Desmond couldn’t exactly explain just why Pomeranz, now 1-3, stumped his team so much. Washington’s lack of exposure to the left-hander certainly didn’t help matters.

But after Friday’s loss, there’s one thing he’s confident those in the Nationals clubhouse won’t soon forget.

“I think a lot of guys are going to go home dreaming about fastballs tonight,” Desmond said.



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