Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez heads to first base after drawing a walk from Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski
August 20, 2015

DENVER (AP) Yohan Flande kept the Washington Nationals at bay with his arm and helped the Colorado Rockies top them with his bat.

Flande pitched seven strong innings and singled twice, driving in a run and scoring a run to lead the Rockies to a 3-2 victory over the Nationals on Thursday night.

''He was throwing the ball so well, I let him take that at-bat in the sixth,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ''I was going to stay with him and he ends up getting the RBI single there with two outs, a big hit. He's not known for his offense, but he stepped up big time.''

Outpitching Washington's Max Scherzer, Flande (3-1) allowed two runs and three hits to help the Rockies avoid a series sweep.

Ben Paulsen singled in the seventh to drive in the tiebreaking run and Jose Reyes added three hits, including an RBI double for the Rockies.

''He got a lot of grounders,'' Washington manager Matt Williams said of Flande. ''But he established (the) low strike. If he can do that, then he's difficult because you got to offer at it.''

Washington's Michael A. Taylor connected for his 11th homer, a two-run drive in the seventh that tied the score.

Scherzer (11-10) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings and fell to 0-3 in four career starts at Coors Field.

''It's just frustrating because I felt like it was good, but it wasn't good enough,'' Scherzer said. ''I made the adjustment. My arm slot was higher, felt like I was on top of the ball, felt like my changeup was back but they were able to find a couple holes and sometimes that led to bigger innings. Just couldn't control those innings.''

John Axford struck out the side in the ninth around a leadoff single by Bryce Harper and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman for his 17th save. It was his first save this month after blowing four previous opportunities.

Flande took a two-hitter into the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead before walking Zimmerman with two outs. Taylor followed by driving Flande's first pitch into the seats beyond the wall in straightaway center.

However, the Rockies regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Reyes singled to lead off the inning, chasing Scherzer. Carlos Gonzalez greeted reliever Felipe Rivero with a single. After reliever Blake Treinen struck out Nolan Arenado, Paulsen singled to center, driving in Reyes with the tiebreaking run.

''I didn't have such a great series until that last at-bat and that last at-bat was the most important one,'' Paulsen said. ''(Treinen) throws a lot of fastballs and I was just trying to see a pitch down and put barrel on a strike.''

Catcher Dustin Garneau made his major league debut for the Rockies and doubled in the second inning in his first career at bat.

CRITICAL CATCH

Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez robbed Jayson Werth of extra bases in the eighth inning with a diving, shoestring catch. ''I took my chances and I was able to make the play,'' Gonzalez said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: CF Denard Span (back tightness) and 2B Dan Uggla (back spasms) are scheduled to continue their rehab assignments Friday at Double-A Harrisburg. They were set to play Thursday with Class-A Hagerstown but the game was rained out. ... RHP David Carpenter (right shoulder inflammation) was scheduled to resume his rehab assignment Friday with 20-25 pitches at high Class-A Potomac where he threw 15 pitches in one inning Wednesday in his first rehab outing.

Rockies: RHP Kyle Kendrick, on the disabled list since Aug. 1 with a right shoulder inflammation, is getting close to being sent out for a minor league rehab assignment and, if all goes well, could rejoin the Rockies in September. ... RHP Chad Bettis (right shoulder inflammation) allowed three hits in five innings and struck out seven, earning the win in a rehab assignment Thursday for Triple-A Albuquerque in Nashville.

MAKING A MOVE

After designating OF Drew Stubbs for assignment earlier this month, the Rockies released him Thursday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-5) is slated to pitch Friday's series opener against Milwaukee at Nationals Park, where he is 5-1 with 2.60 ERA this season.

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-0) will be looking for his first big league win when he makes his fourth career start Friday in a series opener at Coors Field against the New York Mets.

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