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Rockies look to keep rolling as Nationals visit

Oct 1, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers (7) hits a single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies look to match a season best with their fourth straight win when they open a three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night in Denver.

The Rockies previously won four consecutive contests from April 9-12 when they posted two wins apiece against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers.

Colorado is in position to match that run after sweeping a three-game weekend set from the Cincinnati Reds. The Rockies outscored the major league-worst Reds 24-8.

Five Colorado players had two hits in Sunday’s 10-1 rout of the Reds. Even Brendan Rodgers broke loose with two hits and four RBIs after entering the game with an anemic .078 batting average.

Rodgers’ splurge came after he missed four games due to back soreness. But his approach Sunday was more like a year ago when he batted .284 with 15 homers and 51 RBIs in 102 games.

“I’m just getting back to myself, taking the ball to right field,” Rodgers said. “That first hit was a huge, huge first step for me. Then, obviously, the next step — driving one in the gap — is a great feeling. I’ve got to stay up the middle of the field. That’s where I do most of my damage.”

Rockies manager Bud Black said timing was the problem during Rodgers’ 4-for-51 start to the campaign.

“He’s got a good swing,” Black said. “Sometimes you can overanalyze things, but he’s got as good and as efficient a swing as anybody, but his timing was off. When he hits the ball to right-center, that’s a good sign. I thought he had some good swings, too, on a couple of strikeouts. He just missed a couple of pitches, but he’ll get there.”

Washington’s bats came to life over the weekend when it scored 28 runs while taking two of three from the host San Francisco Giants.

The Nationals had lost eight straight before reaching the Bay Area. But they scored a season-high 14 runs on Friday and were touching the bases a lot again Sunday during an 11-5 victory.

Yadiel Hernandez had three hits and drove in a career-best five runs in Sunday’s victory.

“The biggest thing is pitch selection,” Hernandez told reporters through an interpreter. “We had a meeting as a team that we were swinging at very bad pitches in general. The team focused more this weekend and we had better pitch selection and the results were there.”

Juan Soto added three hits and scored three runs and Lucius Fox notched his first two big-league hits after starting 0-for-20.

Fox, known for his speed, was proud of the way his day went.

“I got two infield hits, I stole a base, went first to third, scored from third on a dirt ball — and it was all with the legs,” Fox said. “That’s special.”

The Nationals will start right-hander Erick Fedde (1-2, 6.00 ERA) in the series opener. He lost his last two outings and hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his four starts.

Fedde, 29, is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Rockies. He has experienced issues with Charlie Blackmon (5-for-8, one homer, one triple).

Right-hander German Marquez (0-1, 5.57) looks to bounce back after allowing 12 earned runs in 14 innings over his last three starts.

The 27-year-old is 2-2 with a 7.67 ERA in five career starts against Washington. Soto is 3-for-8 with a homer against Marquez.

Colorado is slated to activate utility man Garrett Hampson (right hand) from the injured list. With the roster limit dropping from 28 to 26, the Rockies optioned first baseman Elehuris Montero, infielder Alan Trejo and right-hander Ryan Feltner to Triple-A Albuquerque.

The Nationals reached the limit by sending left-handers Sam Clay and Francisco Perez to Triple-A Rochester.

–Field Level Media