WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Nationals were overpowered by Ubaldo Jimenez for eight innings.
They rallied in the ninth, but still came up short in yet another one-run game.
Nationals starter Jason Marquis rebounded from his worst game of the season with a solid six-inning performance against the Rockies on Saturday night, but it wasn't nearly enough to counter the performance Jimenez gave in a 2-1 victory.
``We had the right guys up,' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ``We just didn't get it done.'
The Nationals had chances late. In the ninth against Colorado closer Huston Street, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse each singled to put runners on the corners with one out, but Jayson Werth grounded into a double play to end the game.
Marquis (7-4) gave up four runs on eight hits over 1 1-3 innings in a loss to Pittsburgh on July 3. Against the Rockies, he only gave up two runs on five hits, but the Nationals still found themselves on the wrong side of a one-run game for the third time in a row.
``These one-run games, they're just flukes,' said Ian Desmond, who tripled, singled and scored Washington's only run. ``One of those things. They'll turn around for us.'
Marquis lost back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
``Ubaldo was just sharp tonight,' Marquis said. ``You tip your hat. It was just one of those games.
Jimenez (4-8) retired the first 13 batters and allowed one run on five hits in eight innings, striking out eight.
``He was pretty good tonight,' Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa said. ``He throws real hard. He was flipping over a big curveball first pitch and just going from there. He's hittable, but he had a good night.'
The Rockies have won two in a row and will go for the series sweep Sunday. Washington is one game under .500 going into Sunday, the team's final game before the All-Star break.
``I think just winning the one game to be .500 going into the second half would be huge,' Espinosa said. ``To end the first half with a win might give us some good momentum going into the second half.'
Todd Helton hit his 10th homer into the seats above the out-of-town scoreboard in right field in the fourth inning. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a single, and after a pair of two-out walks, the bases were loaded for Jimenez, who grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Rockies added a run in the fifth and narrowly missed another when Mark Ellis doubled to left and Ryan Spilborghs, who led off the inning with a single, attempted to score from first. Laynce Nix fielded the ball near the left-field corner and Desmond's relay throw caught Spilborghs at the plate.
Ellis made it to third on the play and scored on Helton's groundout to first.
Desmond led off the sixth inning with a liner to center which bounced over the sliding Spilborghs for a triple. Desmond scored on pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel's groundout to second.
The Rockies were poised to add to their lead in the eighth inning. Helton's double and an intentional walk to Tulowitzki gave Colorado runners on first and second with one out. Seth Smith lined a ball to left, and Nix made a diving catch before doubling up Helton.
``We've really been playing well defensively,' Desmond said. ``It's something that we put an emphasis on in spring training and it's paying off now.'
Notes: Tulowitzki started after missing the last four games with a tight hamstring. ... Colorado OF Carlos Gonzalez (bruised right wrist) was out of the starting lineup, although he came on in the ninth as a defensive replacement. Gonzalez had missed four games before returning Friday. ``He's sore today. Still feeling it a little bit,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. Tracy added there was a ``remote' chance of Gonzalez playing Sunday. ... Nationals C Jesus Flores, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday, made his first start since May 9, 2009. ... A day after being hit in the nose with a line drive, Nationals LHP John Lannan said there was a small break in the cartilage on the side of his nose, but he doesn't expect to miss a start. ``It wasn't as bad as it looked,' Lannan said. ... It was Tracy's 200th win with the Rockies.
The Associated Press News Service
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