Colorado Rockies Win 5-4 Thanks To Carlos Gonzalez’s 8th Inning Grand Slam


Aug 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder C. Gonzalez (5) singles during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies opened up another difficult road trip in DC on Friday night, facing the Washington Nationals in the first of a three-game series. 

5. 108. Final. 4. 90

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Carlos Gonzalez hit a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the eighth inning, and Tommy Kahnle struck out Bryce Harper to finish the game and nail down his first career Major League save, as the Colorado Rockies came from behind to defeat the host Washington Nationals 5-4 on Monday night in DC.

The Nationals jumped out early in the bottom of the first inning, scoring a run off Rockies’ starter Jorge De La Rosa when Danny Espinosa scored on Bryce Harper’s RBI groundout.

De La Rosa would settle down for two more innings, and in the bottom of the fourth allowed another run when Ryan Zimmerman doubled home Harper, who had singled, to make it a 2-0 game in favor of the Nationals. The run was unearned, though, after Harper scored as left fielder Kyle Parker bobbled Zimmerman’s double to allow Harper to make it all the way home.

The Rockies couldn’t get anything going to back De La Rosa, who despite allowing two runs was very smooth and efficient through five innings. His counterpart for the Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann, had allowed just two hits — and no walks — in the first six innings, while retiring eight straight to get him through the sixth frame and maintain a 2-0 lead for Washington.

The Nationals pushed two more across on De La Rosa in the sixth inning, when Jayson Werth hit a sacrifice fly off De La Rosa, and then, with two outs, Ian Desmond doubled home Harper to make the game 4-0 and end De La Rosa’s night after the frame.

In all, De La Rosa got very, very close to allowing very little in the outing, but was betrayed by poor defense in one inning, and couldn’t get out of a jam with two outs in another. He tossed 6 innings, allowing four runs (but just three earned) on six hits and two walks on the night. Interestingly, De La Rosa only struck out one hitter, while throwing 63 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

The Rockies finally got on the board in the seventh inning off Zimmermann — Nolan Arenado doubled off the Nats’ starter to lead off the seventh, which gave the Rockies their first base runner past first base the entire night, and then Ben Paulsen brought him in on a single to make the game 4-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, Scott Oberg replaced De La Rosa, and got two outs before walking a batter, hitting a batter, and walking another to load the bases. He’d work out of the jam with a groundout, though, and the Nats preserved their 4-1 lead into the eighth despite leaving three runners on base.

Against all odds, in the eighth inning, the Rockies took the lead after doing nothing offensively all night long. It started with Daniel Descalso walking, followed by a ground ball single by Jose Reyes. Then, Arenado hit a fluke infield single to load the bases with two outs.

At that point, Carlos Gonzalez came to the plate, and on a 1-0 count, drove a fastball from Drew Storen into the bullpen in right field, and the grand slam put the Rockies up 5-4 heading to the bottom of the eighth. John Axford held the lead with a scoreless inning in the bottom half of the frame,, and the Rockies took their fate into the ninth inning.

Tommy Kahnle came on looking for his first big league save with the 5-4 Rockies lead, and whiffed Clint Robinson on three pitches to start his inning. After a walk, he induced a popout, and then the impressive strikeout of Harper on a filthy change up.

The Rockies and Nationals face off again on Saturday at 5:05 pm MT, before ending their series on Sunday morning, as the Rockies will then move on to New York to face the Mets in a four-game mid-week series at Citi Field.

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