Colorado Rockies: LeMahieu shows his power, win 5-1 over Nationals

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 29: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the opening day MLB game at Chase Field on March 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 29: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the opening day MLB game at Chase Field on March 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Rockies broke a three-game losing streak after tempers flared between the Rockies and Padres at Coors Field, Wednesday afternoon. Some of that fiery passion seemed to carry over this evening, as the  Colorado Rockies beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 to set the tone for theirseven game road trip…

DJ LeMahieu came off a three hit game Wednesday versus San Diego. He didn’t waste any time getting right back to where he left off. LeMahieu produced some instant offense in the absence of the injured Charlie Blackmon by hitting a 394 foot home run to lead off the game. The first lead off home run of his career. During the top of the second inning, LeMahieu doubled to right field to drive in Gerardo Parra putting the Rockies up 3 to 0.

With the Nationals’ Matt Grace pitching in relief, Parra once again set the table by singling to right-center… and DJ LeMahieu once again hit a home run to drive him in. That home run put the Rockies up 5-1 after top of the sixth inning. This would be LeMahieu’s second multi-home run game of his career. Tonight’s 4 Hit, 4 RBI performance by DJ was good for his seventh multi-hit game of the season, as well.

Much like the Colorado Rockies, the Washington Nationals have had a pretty mediocre start to the season given the expectations of the team in 2018. Except for the always great Bryce Harper, the Nats have battled with a mix of poor clutch hitting, weird base running errors, and a few injuries. The only consistency they’ve had so far this season is their pitching with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and tonight’s starter Gio Gonzalez having sub-3.00 ERAs.

Gonzalez just wasn’t good enough this evening, though. The Rockies battled Gonzalez by stringing together tough at-bats. Despite having 5 strikeouts after the top of the third inning, Gio Gonzalez had racked up 73 pitches…not exactly the most efficient evening for Gonzalez. He finished with 106 pitches through 5 innings allowing 3 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts, raising his ERA to 2.20.

Colorado Rockies’ shortstop Trevor Story started to seem like he found a little momentum after a rough start to his 2018 campaign. Story had reached base safely in 10 consecutive games before tonight. However, he’s still not quite there. He spent the evening chasing fastballs out of the zone, striking out four times and leaving five runners on base. As I wrote a few weeks back, there will be plenty of time for Story to bounce back from that rough start though.

On the flip side, Chad Bettis had a terrific night on the mound. After the ‘bend not break’ outing in his last start against the Padres, the Lubbock, Texas native’s stuff was on point against potentially lethal group of hitters. In the bottom of the 4th, Bettis struck out Harper by attacking him an A+ change-up… which seemed to be his go-to pitch all night.

The Nationals looked to get things going after Howie Kendrick hit a two-out home run off Bettis. Chad did get a little squirrely after that by walking Matt Wieters, and giving up a double to Moisés Sierra. The Rockies starter got out of the inning by inducing a ground out from Michael Taylor to end the fifth inning.

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Chad Bettis finished his night with 7 innings pitched, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Chad improves to 2-0 on the season with a 2.04 ERA. This was the first time Chad has pitched beyond the 6 inning this season. Also, it was the second longest outing by any Rockies starter this season, as well.

The Rockies bullpen only had to get the last six outs of the game to seal the win for Chad Bettis. They did exactly that. Bryan Shaw, who recorded his 400th major league strikeout on Monday against San Diego, came in relief in the bottom of the 8th inning. Shaw took down the Nationals, only allowing a single by Michael Taylor. Jake McGee was the next arm from the relief corps to come into the game, who got the heart of Nationals out in order to finish the game.

Your Colorado Rockies look to keep up their winning ways by sending lefty, Kyle Freeland, to the mound to face off against the Washington Nationals’ right-handed starter, Tanner Roark. Game time is at 5:05pm Mountain Time.

Next: Day after brawl, Nolan Arenado discusses next steps

Be sure to follow @RoxPileFS on Twitter. We will be providing coverage of Rockies’ seven game road trip through Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh this week.