- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

DENVER — Yohan Flande kept the Washington Nationals at bay with his arm and helped the Colorado Rockies top them with his bat.

Flande pitched seven strong innings and singled twice, driving in a run and scoring a run to lead the Rockies to a 3-2 victory over the Nationals on Thursday night.

“He was throwing the ball so well, I let him take that at-bat in the sixth,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “I was going to stay with him and he ends up getting the RBI single there with two outs, a big hit. He’s not known for his offense, but he stepped up big time.”

Outpitching Washington’s Max Scherzer, Flande (3-1) allowed two runs and three hits to help the Rockies avoid a series sweep.

Ben Paulsen singled in the seventh to drive in the tiebreaking run and Jose Reyes added three hits, including an RBI double for the Rockies.

“He got a lot of grounders,” Washington manager Matt Williams said of Flande. “But he established [the] low strike. If he can do that, then he’s difficult because you got to offer at it.”

Washington’s Michael A. Taylor connected for his 11th home run, a two-run drive in the seventh that tied the score.

Scherzer (11-10) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings and fell to 0-3 in four career starts at Coors Field.

“It’s just frustrating because I felt like it was good, but it wasn’t good enough,” Scherzer said. “I made the adjustment. My arm slot was higher, felt like I was on top of the ball, felt like my changeup was back but they were able to find a couple holes and sometimes that led to bigger innings. Just couldn’t control those innings.”

John Axford struck out the side in the ninth around a leadoff single by Bryce Harper and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman for his 17th save. It was his first save this month after blowing four previous opportunities.

Flande took a two-hitter into the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead before walking Zimmerman with two outs. Taylor followed by driving Flande’s first pitch into the seats beyond the wall in straightaway center.

However, the Rockies regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Reyes singled to lead off the inning, chasing Scherzer. Carlos Gonzalez greeted reliever Felipe Rivero with a single. After reliever Blake Treinen struck out Nolan Arenado, Paulsen singled to center, driving in Reyes with the tiebreaking run.

“I didn’t have such a great series until that last at-bat and that last at-bat was the most important one,” Paulsen said. “[Treinen] throws a lot of fastballs and I was just trying to see a pitch down and put barrel on a strike.”

Catcher Dustin Garneau made his major league debut for the Rockies and doubled in the second inning in his first career at bat.

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-5) is slated to pitch Friday’s series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park, where he is 5-1 with 2.60 ERA this season.

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