WASHINGTON (AP) – Adam LaRoche homered, Ryan Zimmerman had three hits and Ian Desmond added two doubles and three RBIs as the Washington Nationals welcomed back Bryce Harper with a 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Harper, who missed 57 games because of a torn ligament in his left thumb, went 1 for 3 with an RBI single – on Bryce Harper bobblehead night.
Jordan Zimmermann (6-4) allowed two runs in six innings as Washington won its third straight.
Justin Morneau had three hits for the Rockies, who have lost 12 of 14.
Yohan Flande (0-1), making his second start, was charged with three runs on six hits.
The Nationals trailed 2-1 before a five-run sixth. With runners on first and second and one out, Zimmerman doubled to left off Rod Scahill, scoring Anthony Rendon. Harper was walked intentionally and Desmond followed with a bases-clearing double into the left-field corner.
Desmond, 6-for-6 with the bases loaded this season, stole third and scored on Wilson Ramos‘ grounder to second.
Zimmermann, who finished June with a 3-2 record and a 1.43 ERA in six starts, allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked one. He’d been a victim of poor run support while going 0-2 in his last three outings.
Harper, batting sixth and playing left field, was given a standing ovation when he batted in the second after LaRoche’s one-out single, but grounded into a double play.
In the fourth, however, after Zimmerman doubled with two outs, Harper brought him home with a sharp grounder up the middle.
The Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Drew Stubbs led off with a ground-rule double and Troy Tulowitzki drove him in with a double high off the wall in left. Tulowitzki went to third on a line-drive single by Morneau.
After Wilin Rosario popped out, Ryan Wheeler lined to short center. Tulowitzki tagged and Denard Span‘s one bouncer to the plate got there in time, but catcher Ramos couldn’t field it cleanly as Tulowitzki scored.
Before the game, Harper said Washington’s best offensive lineup going forward would have Zimmerman in left – where he played during Harper’s absence – and Rendon at third, with Danny Espinosa at second. Presumably, that would put Harper primarily in center, in place of Span.
Williams was glad to get Harper in the lineup, but didn’t say much about his outfielder’s opinions.
“I think that I would say we’re happy to have him back,” Williams said. “And when he’s out there, regardless of where he’s at, we’d like him to catch it when it’s hit to him and hit it when it’s thrown to him. And play the way Bryce plays. That’s important for us. I don’t have any comment other than that.”
NOTES: To make room for Harper, the Nationals optioned LHP reliever Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A Syracuse. . Colorado placed RHP Jhoulys Chacin (inflamed shoulder) on the 15-day DL. Manager Walt Weiss said Franklin Morales will make Chacin’s scheduled Thursday start, giving the Rockies five left-handers in their starting rotation. The Rockies recalled RHP reliever Chad Bettis from Triple-A Colorado Springs. . Rockies OF Corey Dickerson, who left Sunday’s game with a hamstring cramp in the eighth inning, was not in the starting lineup, but entered as part of a double switch in the sixth.
– By HARVEY VALENTINE, Associated Press
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