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Ryan Zimmerman leads Nats to rain-shortened win

DENVER, Colorado (Reuters) - Ryan Zimmerman smashed two home runs and a career-high six RBIs to lead the Washington Nationals to a 14-6 hammering of the Colorado Rockies in an eight inning game on Thursday.

The game was marked by persistent rain, which forced both teams off following the eighth inning. After a delay of 40 minutes the game was called off, giving the Nationals (20-15) their fifth win in six games.

The bright start to the season marks a steep change in fortunes for the Nationals, who finished as the worst team in the MLB in 2009 with a 59-103 record.

"I always kind of wondered what it would be like to have people talk about how good you're playing instead of how bad you're playing," Zimmerman told reporters.

"It's been fun so far. We have a lot of work left to do."

The win took Washington to within one game of National League East leader the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Nationals had taken a 7-6 lead into the eighth where they smashed another seven runs, helped by Cristian Guzman's three-run double.

The plaudits, however, belonged to Zimmerman, who hit a two-run homer in the first and a three-run blast in the fifth where Washington took a 6-0 lead on Colorado (16-18) starter Jhoulys Chacin, who took his first loss of the year.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan pitcher had yet to allow a run in 15 1/3 innings of work entering the night but the Nationals got to him early.

The Rockies launched a comeback with four runs in the fourth before Miguel Olivo hit a two-run homer in the seventh to pull the home team within 7-6.

Olivo finished with two hits and three RBIs.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Edited by Patrick Johnston)