Rockies 11, Nationals 8

Saturday, September 9th 2006, 9:51 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ Chris Iannetta needed something to go his way.

With every failed at-bat, the Colorado Rockies catcher was pressing more and more.

But his two-out RBI single in the eighth to send the Colorado Rockies on their way to an 11-8 win Friday over the Washington Nationals will definitely help his confidence.

``It's finally nice to get going in the right direction,'' said Iannetta, who broke an 0-for-21 skid with the bloop hit. ``I know I belong here. I was just relieved to see that hit fall.''

No more than the Rockies. It's the first time Colorado has won back-to-back games since Aug. 11-12.

``You didn't have to bring that up,'' Clint Hurdle said. ``This was one of those games you've got to just keep playing. You don't like what's going on, but you've got to keep playing.''

It wasn't the crispest of baseball games. The Nationals tied a franchise-record with six errors. It was the most errors by any team in a game since Atlanta committed seven errors on May 2, 2004, against, ironically enough, Colorado.

``We've had some bad games,'' Frank Robinson said. ``I can't ever remember a team of mine that's been this sloppy. Maybe we are trying to hard. Maybe we're not concentrating.

``We should be able to catch and throw the ball.''

Immediately after the game, Robinson called a team meeting to discuss the Nationals' performance.

``It's time for a gut check,'' Robinson said.

The two sides used 12 pitchers in a game that took 3 hours, 21 minutes, the second-longest nine-inning game at Coors this season.

Trailing by one in the eighth, the Rockies scored four runs off Jon Rauch (3-4). Todd Helton walked and Matt Holliday singled. Kaz Matsui, pinch running for Helton, went to third on the play and scored the tying run on Hawpe's sacrifice fly.

Troy Tulowitzki was intentionally walked and then Iannetta hit a two-out single to right. Salazar followed with an RBI single and then pinch hitter Vinny Castilla brought home another run when his shot to third was bobbled by Ryan Zimmerman.

Reliever Nate Field (1-1) earned the win and Brian Fuentes pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 29 chances.

The Rockies appeared to be out of the eighth inning when Brian Schneider hit a two-out roller to Helton, but he flipped the ball late to Jose Mesa. Ryan Church followed with a two-run pinch hit double to the gap that scored Schneider and Nick Johnson.

Henry Mateo followed with a high chopper to reliever Tom Martin, who hurried the throw. Helton tried to reach in front of Mateo for the ball, but Mateo knocked the ball and Helton's glove away, allowing Church to score.

That was just par for the course on this evening.

A throwing error by reliever Saul Rivera allowed two runs to score in the seventh. Holliday reached on an error and Hawpe followed with a double. With runners on second and third and one out, Iannetta hit a comebacker to Rivera, who threw wild to third after Holliday was hung up trying to score.

Holliday scored as the ball rolled toward the third-base stands and Hawpe tried to score as well. Third baseman Zimmerman's throw home hit Hawpe in the leg.

Iannetta later scored on Jeff Salazar's single.

Hawpe and Salazar each had three RBIs. Hawpe also finished with three hits.

Garrett Atkins hit an RBI single in the fourth for his 100th RBI of the season.

Pinch hitter George Lombard had given the Nationals the lead in the seventh when he greeted reliever Ramon Ramirez with his first home run since April 19, 2003, at Baltimore.

Hurdle felt for starter Byung-Hyun Kim, who pitched well until the wheels came off in the sixth. He struck out four of the first five batters he faced and finished with nine, which ties a career high.

But Kim imploded. The Nationals solved Kim's unconventional delivery in the sixth, scoring three runs to tie the game at 4-4. Nick Johnson hit a two-run shot for his 21st homer of the season. Jose Vidro added an RBI single.

``If you look (at his numbers), it's kind of surprising the way the game turned out,'' Hurdle said. ``BK had two different ball games out there.''

The Rockies have now won six straight over Washington this season, outscoring the Nationals 56-27.

Tony Armas Jr. went 5 2-3 innings, giving up five hits and walking a season-high seven.

Garrett Atkins' single up the middle in the fourth gave him his first 100 RBI season of his career. His previous high was 89 set last year.

Shortstop Felipe Lopez left the game in the third with a bruised right ankle after Holliday caught a piece of him trying to break up a double play in the second. Lopez is listed as day-to-day.

Notes: Colorado hitters didn't strike out once Friday, the first time since Sept. 24, 2005, against San Francisco.