DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Rockies tried a little bit of everything to break out of their funk. They wore their socks high and even engaged in a pregame staring contest.
Turns out, the best cure for their slump was simply the left arm of Jorge De La Rosa.
De La Rosa struck out a season-high 11 as he pitched efficiently into the eighth inning and the wobbly Colorado bullpen held off Washington’s late rally, helping the Rockies snap a seven-game skid with a 6-4 win over the Nationals on Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth to protect De La Rosa’s fine effort.
De La Rosa (11-6) was one strikeout away from matching his career high set in 2009. He kept the Nationals guessing by effectively mixing in a changeup with his 89-mph cutter.
“All my pitches were working really good today,” said De La Rosa, who allowed two runs — one earned — before being lifted for a reliever with one out in the eighth. “My command of all my pitches was really good today.”
The Rockies decided as a team to wear their socks high, just to try something new. Even manager Walt Weiss followed the trend.
This helped ease the tension, too: Prior to the first pitch, Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes and Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett engaged in quite a stare-down, with both players standing near the dugout holding their hats over their chest to see who would blink first.
After several minutes, Barnes finally gestured toward Barrett that they settle it with a game of rock-paper-scissor. Right after De La Rosa’s warmup pitches, home plate umpire Paul Emmel told Barnes go into the dugout, with Barrett throwing his hands up in triumph.
“We’ll do any stare-down to win games, for sure,” joked Nolan Arenado.
Once again, De La Rosa mastered a park that typically isn’t friendly to pitchers. He’s 42-14 lifetime at Coors Field.
“This is the perfect park for me,” he said.