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Rockies lose 6th straight, 7-2 to Nationals, fall into tie for worst record in majors

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DENVER - Ben Paulsen had quite a major league debut with two hits and an RBI.

Other than that, not much went right for the Colorado Rockies in a 7-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday night. It was their sixth straight loss and dropped them into a tie with Texas for the worst record in the majors (40-59).

This just may be rock bottom in a season that's gone sideways.

"The only way that's going to change is start playing better baseball," said Carlos Gonzalez, who scraped his right hand sliding into third base. "If we put everything together and compete every day, things are going to change. But we know we're running out of time."

Ian Desmond tied a career high with five hits, including a two-run homer, and Doug Fister threw effectively into the sixth inning for the Nationals.

The 6-foot-8 Fister (9-2) — all "elbows and knees" as Charlie Blackmon described him — allowed nine hits before being pulled with two outs in the sixth after running into trouble.

Desmond had four singles — including one off the arm of reliever LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth — to go with his 17th homer of the season.

His approach at the plate is quite simple: "I just look for the ball and swing as hard as I can."

The last time Desmond had five hits in a game was Sept. 15, 2011, at the New York Mets.

Franklin Morales (5-5) didn't pitch all that bad, except for one inning. He surrendered all four of his runs — three earned — in the fourth.

"Other than that, he threw the ball well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.

Colorado was missing several big bats from its lineup as Troy Tulowitzki missed a second straight game with a sore left thigh. Earlier in the day, Justin Morneau was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained neck.

Taking Morneau's place at first base was Paulsen, who was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He's the ninth player to make his debut with the team this season.

Paulsen lined a single to left in his first plate appearance. After Fister received the ball on the mound, he tossed it to a bat boy as a keepsake for Paulsen.

"He did a nice job," Weiss said. "His swing looks good."

Fister was cruising along until the sixth when the Rockies rallied for two runs on RBI singles from Nolan Arenado and Paulsen to make it 4-2. With the bases loaded and two outs, Nationals manager Matt Williams summoned Aaron Barrett from the bullpen to face pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes. Barrett struck out Barnes with a slider in the dirt.

"That was kind of, in my eyes, the turning point in the game," Desmond said.

The Rockies had a little bit of a scare in that inning when Gonzalez was tagged out trying to slide into third base. He stayed down for several minutes, clutching both wrists after jamming them into the ground. Gonzalez had surgery on his left index finger earlier this season and missed more than a month. He stayed in the game, but had a scrape on his right hand.

"I don't know what else can happen this year," Gonzalez said.

NOTES: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-5), who left his last start with a cramp in his right biceps, will start Tuesday. The Rockies will throw LHP Yohan Flande (0-2). ... The Rockies placed LHP Boone Logan on the DL with diverticulitis, a condition in which the inner lining of the intestine becomes inflamed or infected. ... A woman was hit in the head when the bat slipped out of Gonzalez's hands in the fourth. She was escorted from her seat. ... Reigning NL batting champion Michael Cuddyer (fractured left shoulder) is on target to return in mid-August.

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