Washington, DC – If Gio Gonzalez was going to pick up his 12th victory and match the most wins by a Nationals pitcher before the All- Star break, he was going to need a little help from his offense.
That's exactly what he got.
Ryan Zimmerman's go-ahead RBI single in a three-run sixth inning helped the Washington Nationals down the Colorado Rockies, 4-1, in the middle installment of a three-game set.
Gonzalez (12-3) struck out six and surrendered a run on three hits and three walks in six innings for the Nationals, who have won five of their last six games.
"He didn't want to leave with the game tied," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "I said, 'You're done. You're not talking me out of nothing and we'll get you a win right here.'"
Livan Hernandez won 12 games before the All-Star break in 2005.
Ian Desmond smacked a solo homer among his two hits while Tyler Clippard tossed a scoreless ninth to notch his 14th save of the year.
Jeff Francis (2-2) fanned five and was charged with three runs on six hits and a walk in five innings for Colorado, which has dropped six of its last eight contests.
"It was a tough game to lose," Francis said. "It was well pitched and made a couple mistakes at a bad time."
Dexter Fowler registered three hits, while Jordan Pacheco's sacrifice fly in the fourth accounted for the Rockies' lone run.
When Gonzalez exited, it was 1-1 entering the home half of the sixth before the Nationals surged ahead with their three-run frame.
Danny Espinosa doubled and Bryce Harper singled to put runners on the corners. Josh Roenick relieved Francis and was greeted by Zimmerman, who ripped a single to center, plating Espinosa for a 2-1 Washington edge.
Harper then scored on a wild pitch and Zimmerman advanced to second following a throwing error by Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario. Later in the frame with two outs and runners on the corners, Zimmerman crossed the plate to make it 4-1 when Roenicke threw the ball away at first on a pickoff attempt.
Washington struck first in the second inning as Desmond cracked a solo shot that just crept over the wall in right, but Colorado knotted the game in the fourth when Pacheco brought home Michael Cuddyer with a sacrifice fly, making it a 1-1 game.
After the game, Harper was named to the NL All-Star team, replacing injured Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton...Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn was named to the NL All-Star team to replace Desmond, who has been hobbled by a left oblique strain...Washington was 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while Colorado finished 0-for-8...Washington is 26-8 in games started by Gonzalez or Stephen Strasburg this season.