Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond lead Nationals to rubber-match win over Rockies

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Hitters lead Nats to rubber-match victory

DENVER -- Ryan Zimmerman homered, doubled and drove in three runs, Ian Desmond got four hits and the Washington Nationals beat the depleted Colorado Rockies 5-4 on Thursday.

The Rockies lost four players and a coach, as well as the rubber match of the three-game series.

Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler were injured early and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left for an undisclosed reason in the eighth. Reliever Wilton Lopez and pitching coach Jim Wright were ejected in the seventh.

Craig Stammen (4-2) threw two scoreless innings. Rafael Soriano got his 17th save after giving up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Todd Helton with two outs.

Zimmerman's RBI double off reliever Matt Belisle (4-3) in the eighth broke a tie, and he later scored on Desmond's infield single to make it 5-3.

Tulowitzki was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth, straining an already-short Rockies bench.

Gonzalez was hit near the ankle by a foul ball while on deck in the first inning and exited with a bruised left foot. The Rockies said X-rays were negative and listed the All-Star left fielder as day-to-day.

Fowler was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Ross Detwiler after squaring to bunt in the third. A team trainer looked at Fowler, and the center fielder stayed in for another inning.

Detwiler was activated from the 15-day DL and made his first start since May 15. He lasted five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and striking out two.

He was in line for the loss until the seventh, when things got heated between the umpiring crew and the Rockies. Desmond led off with a single and stole second. With two outs, Lopez was called for two balks, scoring Desmond to tie it at 3.

Lopez shouted at first base umpire and crew chief John Hirschbeck as he left the field after the inning ended and was ejected. Wright was also tossed.

The Rockies were in control before the then. Tyler Colvin, who replaced Gonzalez, had an RBI single in the first and Michael Cuddyer drove in a run with a double in the fourth and later scored on a groundout to give the Rockies a 3-2 lead.

Zimmerman had given the Nats a 2-1 lead with a two-run homer in the third, his seventh of the season, the only blemish in an otherwise strong start for Jeff Francis.

Francis entered Thursday with a tenuous hold on his spot in the Rockies rotation. He had a shaky start against San Diego on Saturday in his first outing since coming off the 15-day DL because of a groin strain. He needed 93 pitches to get through four innings against the Padres, and with veteran Roy Oswalt pitching well in the minors, Francis' role with the Rockies was in question.

Francis made his case with a solid outing against the Nats. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight, his most since May 24, 2008.

Notes ยป Desmond extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. ...

Nats righty Stephen Strasburg (strained lat muscle) threw a successful bullpen session Thursday and is on track to start Sunday's game at Cleveland. ...

Cuddyer returned to the lineup after missing five games with a strained rib cage. ...

To make room for Detwiler, the Nationals optioned reliever Erik Davis to Triple-A Syracuse.

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