Rockies fall to Nats 16-5 as Harper homers in 11-run 7th

The math is pretty simple for Dusty Baker: His big-hitting lineup plus Coors Field equals loads of runs.

Crowds line up to enter behind home plate. Coors Field opening day, April 7, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)rockies; ballpark; coors field; sports; baseball; opening day; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;

By Pat Graham, AP sports writer

DENVER (AP) — The math is pretty simple for Dusty Baker: His big-hitting lineup plus Coors Field equals loads of runs.

“But I didn’t have any idea we were going to score that many,” the Washington manager said.

Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer as part of an 11-run seventh inning, Trea Turner enjoyed another big game at the hitter-friendly ballpark and the Nationals routed the Colorado Rockies 16-5 on Thursday.

Turner proved to be a pitcher’s nightmare throughout the four-game series. He hit for the cycle on Tuesday, finished a triple shy of another cycle Wednesday and added a double and two singles in the finale. In all, he had seven extra-base hits, scored 10 runs and had 11 RBIs.

“This ballpark, for whatever reason, feels pretty comfortable to me,” said Turner, who came off the disabled list less than a week ago. “It’s fun hitting here.”

His teammates felt the same way as every starter had a hit Thursday.

Washington finished 9-1 on its road trip, taking three of the last four at Colorado. What’s more, the Nationals scored 11 or more runs in three straight games for the first time since July 1986 at Atlanta, when the team was the Montreal Expos.

Leading 4-2, the Nationals broke the game open in the seventh by sending 15 batters to the plate and pounding out eight hits, including Harper’s eighth homer.

The 11 runs in the frame were the most by the franchise since the Expos scored 13 in the sixth at San Francisco on May 7, 1997, according to the team.

“With our lineup, it’s only a matter of time before we kind of put up a crooked number,” Turner said. “We scored 11 runs in an inning and at any point during that inning, somebody could’ve shut it down. Nobody wanted to make that last out. Nobody wants to give an at-bat away.”

It was quite a hitting clinic.

“They’re on a great streak where groundballs are going through, they’re hitting balls over the fence,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. It’s sort of the contagious theory.”

Gio Gonzalez (3-0) scattered seven hits over 6 2/3 innings to improve to 4-0 all-time against Colorado. He also had a good day at the plate with two RBIs, including a bases-loaded walk in the big seventh.

Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela (3-1) couldn’t find his typical command in surrendering four runs over six innings.

Before the game, Black said he was going to talk to Senzatela about not walking the pitcher, which he termed a “bad sin.” Both Tyler Chatwood and German Marquez did just that the previous two games, paving the way to costly innings.

Senzatela didn’t walk the pitcher, but reliever Carlos Estevez did in the seventh.

“Once the pitcher walked, that sort of set the stage for an extreme add-on,” Black said. “We just couldn’t solve that inning.”

Another hurtful play in the pivotal inning was when first baseman Mark Reynolds fielded Harper’s grounder and instead of stepping on the bag, threw home to get the runner he figured was breaking for home. Only, the runner wasn’t going and the throw wound up in the dugout.

Trainer’s room

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg was reinstated from the paternity list after the birth of his second daughter. Strasburg is scheduled to throw Saturday against the New York Mets.

Rockies: OF Gerardo Parra made a leaping catch in the sixth just before hitting the wall. Parra was shaking his right hand, but stayed in the game.

Resting sluggers

Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez didn’t start. Both had planned rest days, although Baker struggled with the decision with Zimmerman.

“It’s hard to rest him because he’s hot,” Baker said.

This & that

OF Charlie Blackmon had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. … 3B Nolan Arenado hit a solo homer in the first — about the only mistake Gonzalez made all afternoon.

Up next

Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.32 ERA) starts Friday at Arizona. The Diamondbacks will throw LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 3.42).

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (3-1, 1.95 ERA) starts Friday when the Nationals open a three-game series against the New York Mets. Scherzer has 55 strikeouts in his last five games against the Mets, who will throw RHP Jacob deGrom (0-1).

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