DJ LeMahieu hit two home runs, including one on the third pitch of the game, propelling the Colorado Rockies to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
Right-hander Chad Bettis (2-0) pitched seven strong innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, helping the Rockies improve their road record to 5-3 this season.
Howie Kendrick homered for the Nationals.
The Rockies got to Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (1-1) for two runs in the first, wasting little time before LeMahieu’s shot to left-center field as the game’s leadoff batter.
A walk, wild pitch and two-out error by Kendrick led to the second run, which was scored by Chris Iannetta.
LeMahieu’s second homer, a two-run shot, came off Nationals reliever Matt Grace with two outs in the sixth inning, also scoring Gerardo Parra, who had singled. It gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead.
The homers were LeMahieu’s third and fourth of the season. He totaled four RBIs, doubling his previous season total.
The two-homer game was the second of his career. He also had one last August against Atlanta.
LeMahieu also doubled twice, his fourth and fifth of the season, in a 4-for-5 performance, the first driving in Parra in the second inning for a 3-0 lead. Parra had reached on an infield single.
Gonzalez allowed the first three Rockies runs, only two of which were earned, in five innings. He surrendered five hits and three walks and struck out seven.
Kendrick’s homer, his first of the season, ended Bettis’ shutout bid with two outs in the fifth.
Bettis allowed just the one run in seven innings, limiting the Nationals to three hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Parra finished with two hits for the Rockies, who outhit the Nationals 9-4 in the opener of a seven-game trip. Nolan Arenado doubled for Colorado, his fourth of the season.
Pinch hitter Moises Sierra added a double for the Nationals, who fell to 2-5 at home.
Bryce Harper went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the loss.
—Field Level Media