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WSH@COL: Wigginton's single ties the game at 2

DENVER -- Before the Rockies' series finale with the Nationals, some stadium personnel at Coors Field were commenting on what a beautiful Wednesday afternoon it was turning out to be in the Mile High City.

The crew didn't want to accept that it was actually Sunday -- and for good reason. The Rockies entered the finale having lost 15 straight games on Sunday. The Rockies portion of the 34,812 in attendance showed up hoping to see the team reverse its fortunes.

But despite a strong outing from starter Aaron Cook, it didn't. The Nationals tacked on the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and held on to hand Colorado its 16th straight Sunday loss, 3-2.

The Rockies are now tied with the 1927-28 and 1960 Phillies for the longest Sunday losing streak in the modern era, according to Bill Arnold's "Beyond the Box Score" column.

"It's brutal," said Rockies reliever Matt Belisle, who took the loss after Jayson Werth singled home the winning run in the eighth. "I don't know what it is, but it's brutal. It's not getting it done, and that's all that matters in this game."

With the game tied in the eighth, Danny Espinosa led off with a double off Belisle, as Eric Young Jr. misplayed the fly ball in left field. With one out, Werth singled to left to score Espinosa, and the Nationals held on from there.

Young, who extended his hitting streak to seven games with two singles, said he thought he took the proper path to Espinosa's fly ball, but it sailed just over his glove and to the wall.

"It was right there," Young said. "It's one of those things where sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. That's how the game goes."

While Young has shown flashes of being a viable leadoff hitter since his callup from Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 22, his defense remains a work-in-progress.

"That's part of his development," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "You can't fault the effort, and that's why he's out there. He has done some very good things for us."

Todd Coffey worked his way around a leadoff single by Eliezer Alfonzo to keep the Rockies off the board in the eighth, and Drew Storen retired Colorado in the ninth to earn his 29th save.

Cook, who left his previous start after the fourth inning due to muscle spasms in his neck, allowed two runs on four hits and three walks (one intentional) over the 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four. The only damage against Cook came on Jonny Gomes' two-run home run in the second inning. It was Gomes' third home run in 12 career at-bats against the right-hander.

"You can't ask for any more than we got on the pitching side of things today," Tracy said. "I thought Aaron Cook did a tremendous job. There's no getting around that."

The one pitch Cook wished could have back was a hanging slider on a 1-1 count to Gomes, who hit is first homer since June 27, when he was playing for the Reds.

"He definitely didn't make many mistakes," Gomes said of Cook. "I don't know if the one I hit was a mistake, but I was able to get some good wood on it."

The Nationals held that two-run lead until the Rockies played small ball to even the score in the seventh. After pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera walked and moved to second on Young's single, Dexter Fowler moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Young scored after Nationals first baseman Michael Morse couldn't make the play on a routine grounder off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez. After Troy Tulowitzki struck out, Ty Wigginton tied the game with an RBI single off Tyler Clippard.

The Rockies missed several opportunities to score early in the game against Nationals starter John Lannan, who tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball. Colorado's biggest chance came in the fourth, when a single from Tulowitzki, a walk to Wigginton and a base hit by Alfonzo loaded the bases with one out. But Mark Ellis flied out to left and Cook grounded out to end the threat.

In the eighth, Alfonzo -- hitting .364 since joining the Rockies from Triple-A on July 15 -- led off with a single. Ellis couldn't lay down a successful sacrifice bunt, as the Nationals threw Alfonzo out at second. After Ellis stole second base, the Rockies had two opportunities to scratch across the equalizer, but Herrera flied out to center and Young grounded out.

"When you're in ballgames like this that we've been in the majority of the season, executions in these situations I've been talking about is necessary," said Tracy, whose team stranded 11 baserunners. "You're not going to get every single one of them, but when you create as many opportunities as we've created, at some point in time you have to do something to break through."

The Rockies begin a seven-game National League Central road trip Monday with a four-game set at Cincinnati.

The good news for Colorado: Sunday is a week away.

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