WASHINGTON | DJ LeMahieu carried the Colorado Rockies’ offense on Thursday.The second baseman homered twice, added two doubles and drove in a career-high four runs and Colorado earned a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.
“I was just trying to get on base and hit the ball hard,” said LeMahieu, who matched a career high with four hits.
“I feel like I’ve seen Nolan (Arenado) and Charlie (Blackmon) and CarGo (Carlos Gonzalez) have those kind of games plenty of times. It feels good to have one of those.”
Chad Bettis (2-0) allowed one run and three hits over seven innings as Colorado took the opener of a four-game series.
It was the second career multi-homer game for LeMahieu, who hit two last season at Atlanta on Aug. 26. The second baseman has four homers on the season, already halfway to his season total from a year ago, and his seven multi-hit games rank behind only San Diego first baseman Eric Hosmer’s eight in the National League.
“You can say he was our offense,” manager Bud Black said.
He got started quickly when he sent Washington starter Gio Gonzalez’s third pitch into the Colorado bullpen in left.
The Rockies managed another run in the first when Washington second baseman Howie Kendrick misplayed Ian Desmond’s two-out pop up and allowed Chris Iannetta to score from second.
LeMahieu added an RBI double in the second off Gonzalez (1-1). In the sixth, he smacked a two-run homer to left-center off reliever Matt Grace to make it 5-1.
He became the third player in franchise history to hit two homers and two doubles in a game, joining Todd Walker (June 25, 2001) and Corey Dickerson (May 10, 2014), and is 7 for 10 over the past two games.
“Overall, I’ve felt good pretty much all season, but the last couple days I’ve been seeing the ball pretty good,” LeMahieu said.
Kendrick’s home run in the fifth was his first of the season and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. But that was all the offense Washington could muster against Bettis, who moved the ball effectively throughout his outing.
“He mixed it up really well,” Kendrick said. “We hit some balls hard, it was just right at their guys and they had a little more offense than we did tonight, I think that’s what it comes down to.”
Washington had a season-low four hits, and the Nationals have scored just 20 runs in their past eight games.
“We have a good hitting team, so we’ve just got to stay aggressive and work our way out of it,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
Gonzalez allowed five hits and three runs in five innings, losing for the first time in six career starts against Colorado.
Washington C Matt Wieters was 0 for 2 with a walk in his first game since coming off the disabled list Wednesday. Wieters had played in only two games before a left oblique strain sidelined him for 10 days.
Rockies: Blackmon was out of the lineup for the third consecutive game with right quad tightness. “He’s improving,” Black said. “Hopefully in the next couple days we’ll get him out there.”
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Koda Glover, on the 60-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, is throwing from 75 feet.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (0-2, 5.56 ERA) has allowed two home runs in both of his first two starts this season.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (1-0, 4.50 ERA) has struck out 14 in 11 career innings against Colorado.