Strasburg loses grip as Rockies top Nationals
(Reuters) - The Colorado Rockies handed Washington ace Stephen Strasburg his first defeat in more than a month with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Nationals on Monday.
Strasburg (9-2) had won his last six starts, but the Rockies got to him in the sixth inning, where the hard-throwing pitcher lost control and hit Marco Scutaro on the head.
Scutaro left the game, walking under his own power, and Strasburg departed not long after with his first loss since May 15.
"It happens... part of baseball," Strasburg told reporters after striking out eight in the defeat.
"You try to get in and obviously you never want to hit a guy in the head, but you have to keep going out there and pounding the strike zone. Once I saw him walk off, I figured he'd be OK."
Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton batted RBIs for Colorado in the pivotal sixth to grab a 3-2 lead and help the struggling Rockies (28-44) beat the National League East leading Nationals (41-30).
Washington has a 3 1/2 game lead in the division, while Colorado won for just the fourth time in 18 games.
Rockies starter Jeff Francis tossed five innings in his second solid outing in a row since being signed by Colorado earlier this month.
Reliever Josh Roenicke was credited with the win after keeping Washington scoreless in the sixth and seventh, where the home team added a final run on a Chris Nelson single.
Washington got two men on base against Rafael Betancourt with one out in the ninth, but the closer got the final two outs to end the contest.
"Impressive," Francis said of his team's effort.
"I left the game and we were losing. There are probably a lot of days in this summer when that game ends 2-1. We did a great job of coming back and scoring some runs on (Strasburg)."
Jesus Flores had three hits for the Nationals and scored twice. Strasburg brought Flores home with a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)
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