Four Nationals pitchers combine for shutout

DENVER (AP) -- Tony Armas Jr. finally had a strong start on the

Armas allowed nine hits in six innings, and Nick Johnson had
three hits and two RBI to lead the Washington Nationals past the
Colorado Rockies 8-0 Saturday night.

He began the day 1-5 with a 7.49 ERA in six road starts, while
going 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA at home.

"I think I had been pitching the same on the road," Armas
(7-5) said. "I just didn't have much luck. If there was a
different it was I threw more strikes and made pitches when I had
to make them. I had been getting behind hitters a lot."

Mike Stanton, Hector Carrasco and Joey Eischen completed the
17th combined shutout, and 30th overall, in 11 seasons of Coors
Field. The Nationals, who had 13 hits, won for the fifth time in 17
road games since July 9.

"We had a shutout," Washington manager Frank Robinson said
mockingly. "Oh my. Who did that?"

Jose Guillen had two hits and two RBI, and Jose Vidro and
Preston Wilson also had two hits.

Colorado also had 13 hits, including two each from Todd Helton,
Aaron Miles, Larry Bigbie, Matt Holliday and Danny Ardoin. The
Rockies left 15 baserunners and were 1-for-15 with runners in
scoring position.

"Guys didn't produce," Ardoin said. "We had people on base
nearly every inning and couldn't cash in."

The hit total was within one of the major-league record for
futility. The New York Giants, on Sept. 14, 1913, and Cleveland
Indians, on July 10, 1928, shut out opponents on 14 hits.

"It was a group effort and we came up short all the way
around," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "Everybody seemed
unable to get us a clutch hit."

The Rockies were blanked at Coors Field for the first time since
a 4-0 loss to San Francisco on July 17, 2004 -- span of 99 home

Washington took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Brian
Schneider drew a two-out walk from Byung-Hyun Kim, Vinny Castilla
hit an RBI double and Cristian Guzman followed with a run-scoring

The Nationals added two runs in the third on back-to-back
doubles by Vidro and Johnson, and Preston Wilson's two-out RBI

They extended it to 6-0 on Guillen's sacrifice fly in the fifth
and Schneider's RBI double in the sixth that chased Kim (3-9).
Johnson and Guillen had RBI doubles in the ninth to close the

"We had a lead and kept adding on," Johnson said. "We hadn't
done much of that."

Colorado stranded eight runners in the first three innings,
loading the bases in the third on one-out singles by Helton, Matt
Holliday and Jorge Piedra. However, Armas retired Garrett Atkins on
a fly ball too shallow to score Helton, and Omar Quintanilla also
flied out to right field to end the inning.

Game notes
Nationals 1B-OF Brad Wilkerson sat out a second straight
game with a sore shoulder ... Left-handed batters are hitting .204
against Washington LHP Mike Stanton. ... Kim retired the Nationals
in order in the first, an inning Colorado has been outscored 97-46.
... Helton has eight consecutive seasons of 30 seasons of 30 or
more doubles.