Rockies Swept By Nationals

By: AP
By: AP

Lastings Milledge capped a big day with two more hits and Odalis Perez pitched six strong innings to help the Washington Nationals complete a doubleheader sweep of the Colorado Rockies by identical 6-3 scores Thursday.

In the first game, Milledge went 3-for-4 with two homers and a career-high four RBIs to back Jason Bergmann's first win in nearly three months.

It was second multihomer game for Milledge, who was 5-for-9 with five RBIs in the doubleheader. His other multihomer game came on Sept. 29 last year with the New York Mets.

"He got himself into a good count, got a pitch he could hit, and hammered it both times," Nationals manager Manny Acta said after the opener.

Joel Hanrahan saved both games of the doubleheader, giving him three saves this season.

The Nationals were 18-37 on the road before coming to Colorado but took three of four at Coors Field. The Rockies fell 8 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West.

Perez (5-8) gave up a two-run homer to Garrett Atkins in the first inning before settling down. Meanwhile, the Nationals' offense roughed up Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who was 6-1 in his previous seven starts.

Jimenez (8-10) had a 14-inning scoreless streak coming into the nightcap, but that ended in the second. With two outs, Emilio Bonifacio, Willie Harris and Milledge had run-scoring hits that gave the Nationals a 4-2 lead. Wil Nieves made it 6-2 with a two-run double in the fifth.

Bonifacio had four hits in the doubleheader.

Jimenez gave up six runs on eight hits and six walks in five innings.

In the opener, Bergmann (2-8) gave up one run and seven hits in seven-plus innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

"He did a fantastic job for us, especially in this ballpark, with their lineup," Acta said.

Bergmann had a shutout going until Matt Holliday led off the eighth with his 22nd homer.

"He kept the ball down, he kept it out of the middle of the plate and his curveball was extremely effective," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Yorvit Torrealba hit a two-run homer off Washington reliever Steven Shell in the ninth. Hanrahan came on and gave up a single to Cory Sullivan, then retired the next three batters.

Jeff Francis (3-8) took the loss in his first start since June 28 in Detroit. The left-hander came off the disabled list Wednesday and wanted to start over after a rough beginning to the season, but he gave up five runs on eight hits and struck out three in 5 1-3 innings.

He started strong Thursday, but ran into trouble in the fifth and sixth.

"I thought I was throwing my fastball down pretty consistently and got some groundball outs," Francis said. "The fifth and sixth inning, I was leaving some balls up."

Francis faced the minimum through three innings before the Nationals got to him in the fifth. Milledge led off with a home run to left, and with one out Ronnie Belliard singled and Harris doubled him home. After Bergmann grounded out, Bonifacio tripled to make it 3-0.

Milledge's two-run homer in the sixth chased Francis and gave the Nationals a 5-0 lead.

"Bottom line, they weren't good pitches and they made me pay," Francis said. "It didn't go as well as I hoped."

Washington got another run in the seventh when reliever Jason Grilli's two-out error led to Milledge's RBI single.

Notes: Hurdle said he expects RHP Livan Hernandez to be in uniform Friday. The Rockies acquired Hernandez from Minnesota on Thursday. ... The Nationals franchise and Colorado have played two previous doubleheaders, both in 1999 as a result of the Columbine High School shooting in April of that year. The Nationals, then the Montreal Expos, swept the first doubleheader on Aug. 12, and two days later the Rockies swept a doubleheader from the Expos.


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