DENVER (AP) Alex Call set the tone for good things to come with his first career leadoff homer.
“I wish I could promise that every game,” Call cracked.
Call and Jeimer Candelario hit back-to-back homers to start the game, CJ Abrams drove in three runs with a pair of triples and the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 10-5 on Friday night.
It was all part of a 19-hit eruption for the Nationals as they broke a four-game skid.
“We’re all hungry in here,” Call said. “Nobody likes to lose and we want to come out and put our best foot forward every night and come out and really knock some teams around. I think it’s only a matter of time before we can really open up like that.”
MacKenzie Gore (2-0) turned in another strong performance and now has earned both wins for the Nationals (2-6) this season. The left-hander scattered two runs over six innings.
“It was a good day for our hitters and also MacKenzie,” said Nationals manager Dave Martinez, whose team lost 1-0 on Thursday in Colorado's home opener.
In addition to his leadoff homer, Call also brought home a run with a bases-loaded walk and another on a sacrifice fly.
Abrams kept up his torrid hitting with a three-hit, three-RBI performance. He's batting .467 over his last four games. Abrams became the fifth Nationals player since 2005 to hit two triples in a game, joining Ben Revere (Aug. 13, 2016), Denard Span (May 31, 2013), Cristian Guzman (April 7, 2008) and Bernie Castro (Sept. 16, 2006).
“That’s what I’m trying to do - go three,” Abrams said. “There’s a lot of ground out there. Hit the ball and just run out of the box.”
Gore and Abrams were both acquired by the Nationals last summer as part of the deal that sent Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres.
Rockies starter José Ureña (0-2) never found his rhythm and lasted only 2 2/3 innings. The righty allowed six runs - four earned - and seven hits while walking three. It's been a difficult start to the season for Ureña, whose ERA fell from 15.43 to 14.40 despite the rocky outing.
“Simple terms, not enough strikes,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Not enough ahead in the count. Not enough first-pitch strikes. All the pitching principles that you hear me talk about, he’s not adhering to them in these first two starts.”
Trailing 8-2 in the seventh, the Rockies scored three times to tighten things up. But the Nationals responded with two in the eighth to begin the fan exodus from Coors Field.
“We had our opportunities tonight and could have pushed back into that one,” said Ryan McMahon, who hit his second homer of the season. “We didn’t capitalize on them. It’s just how it goes.”
Nationals: 2B Luis García left the game after grounding out in the sixth with a tight right hamstring. “Probably day to day,” Martinez said.
Rockies: Black remains unsure when closer Daniel Bard will begin facing hitters. Bard’s on the injured list due to anxiety.
Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant had a walk and an RBI single. Bryant has reached base in 45 of his 50 games since signing with the Rockies last season.
Martinez doesn’t mind mixing it up at the leadoff spot for the right matchup. Given Ureña’s tendency to walk batters and Call’s peskiness at the plate, Martinez figured the matchup was tilted in Washington’s favor.
“I’ll put some big, heavy hitters up there to see if we can get that first run early,” Martinez explained.
WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
Black believes that preparing for the World Baseball Classic has played a role in Kyle Freeland’s hot start this season. The lefty is 2-0 and has yet to give up a run.
“It was the intense competition that got him ready early," Black explained.
Freeland threw six innings over two games for the United States, which lost in the final to Japan.
Washington righty Trevor Williams (0-1, 5.40) will throw Saturday while lefty Austin Gomber (0-1, 4.50) gets the start for Colorado.
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