DENVER – The Colorado Rockies don't expect Esmil Rogers to replace Ubaldo Jimenez. So far, though, he has been a solid fill-in.
Troy Tulowitzki homered among his three hits, Rogers pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Rockies beat the Washington Nationals 6-3 on Thursday night.
Ty Wigginton and Chris Nelson had two hits each for the Rockies, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Rogers took Jimenez's spot in the rotation when the ace was traded to Cleveland on Saturday. His new role started when Jimenez left that game against San Diego after giving up four runs in the first inning. Rogers threw five innings of one-run ball in a game Colorado came back to win 8-5.
"It's sad that he left but it opened up an opportunity for me," Rogers said.
Things didn't start well Thursday but he settled down to keep the Rockies in the game against Washington. He allowed one run and seven hits, walked two and struck out six in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up a run in the first and had multiple baserunners in the third, fifth and sixth. He left after pinch-hitter Alex Cora's single with two outs in the sixth put runners on the corners. Matt Reynolds struck out Rick Ankiel to end the inning.
"He started slow but when you looked up in the fifth inning and see he threw 74 strikes, when you're pitching that aggressively, you're going to get people out," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
The Nationals felt they missed their chances to get to Rogers early.
"I felt like we left him off the hook numerous times," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "He's got a good arm but he made a lot of bad pitches and we just didn't capitalize."
Rogers (5-1) threw 29 pitches in the first inning but he was able to go deep enough into the game to give the Rockies' tired bullpen a breather.
"He pitched great in San Diego and he tried to build off that, and he did to a point," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "He did a really good job there were just few pitches he probably wishes he had back."
He stayed in long enough for the Rockies to take a lead in the fifth. Iannetta led off with a double, moved to third on Rogers' sacrifice bunt and scored on Eric Young Jr.'s single to center to make it 2-1.
Tulowitzki made it 3-1 when he led off the sixth with his 21st homer of the year off reliever Collin Balester.
The Rockies broke it open in the eighth when reliever Ryan Mattheus walked Nelson and Young and hit Iannetta with the bases loaded to make it 6-1.
Ryan Zimmerman's two-run double in the ninth made it 6-3.
Zimmerman had three hits and Michael Morse, Wilson Ramos and Ankiel had two hits each for the Nationals.
Washington starter Ross Detwiler cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. Helton drew a one-out walk, moved to second on Tulowitzki's single — Colorado's first hit of the game — and scored on a single by Wigginton to tie it 1-1.
Detwiler escaped further trouble when right fielder Jayson Werth threw out Tulowitzki at home when he tried to score on Nelson's single.
Detwiler (1-1) gave up two runs and five hits, walked three and struck out one in five innings. It was his second start of the season and his first after five relief appearances.
"I started walking people and was leaving the ball up a little bit," Detwiler said. "They were able to get under it and put it in the outfield."
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first. Ankiel led off with a single, Zimmerman drew a one-out walk and Morse singled to center.
Notes: Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his first of four rehab appearance on Sunday with Class A Hagerstown. The plan is for him to throw one or two innings. The Nationals hope he can return to the rotation in September, a year after having Tommy John surgery. .. Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez (right wrist strain) was scheduled to play in a doubleheader for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday. Gonzalez has been on the 15-day DL since July 22. ... Nationals C Ivan Rodriguez (right oblique strain) had a setback and will see Dr. Bill Meyers in Philadelphia instead of possibly beginning a rehab assignment this weekend. Rodriguez, 39, has been on the DL since July 7. ... Juan Nicasio will start Friday for Colorado in the second game of the series. The Rockies are 6-0 in his starts at Coors Field and Nicasio is 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA in those outings. He will face righty Jordan Zimmerman, who is 0-1 in four road starts since June 12 despite not giving up an earned run in three of those games. ... Zimmerman extended his hit streak to 13 games. ... Nelson has seven multi-hit games this season.