DENVER -- Early on, Stephen Strasburg didnt have his best stuff and yet the powerful right-hander tried to bear down to keep his team close. Almost paid off, too. The Washington Nationals loaded the bases in the ninth before falling 6-4 to Jorge De La Rosa and the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Strasburg (7-8) settled in after a shaky start, giving up four runs -- three of which were in the first -- and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings. "Giving up three runs early, I couldve easily shut it down," Strasburg said. "I didnt want to do that. I wanted to keep it as close as possible. Give the guys a chance to come back -- anything can happen here." And almost did. Closer LaTroy Hawkins got the first two outs in the ninth, before allowing RBI singles to Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon to make it a 6-4 game. With the bases loaded, Hawkins struck out Ian Desmond to end the rally. "You have to tip your cap sometimes. He did a good job," Desmond said. "He made some pitches on me. "We did a good job battling back right there. We kept on grinding away. Ill take us in that situation a lot of times." Denard Span had four hits for the Nationals, who finished the season series 5-1 against Colorado. He was one of the few to have success against De La Rosa, who gave the Rockies a badly needed boost as they snapped a seven-game skid. "Jorge, another great outing. He did it again," manager Walt Weiss said. "Were scuffling like crazy and he takes the ball and gives us a great performance and wins the game." The 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 De La Rosa. De La Rosa (11-6) struck out a season-high 11 as he pitched efficiently into the eighth inning. 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 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 Rosas warmup pitches, home plate umpire Paul Emmel told Barnes go into the dugout, with Barrett throwing his hands up in triumph. "Well do any stare-down to win games, for sure," joked Nolan Arenado. Once again, De La Rosa mastered a park that typically isnt friendly to pitchers. Hes 42-14 lifetime at Coors Field. "This is the perfect park for me," he said. Usually, its the hitters saying that. De La Rosa had his pitches dancing all day. He struck out Bryce Harper three times. The Nationals were just 1 of 14 with runners in scoring position off De La Rosa. "He knows how to pitch here," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Hes got a surprising fast ball when he needs it, but he relies on his changeup a lot. Thats a great strategy here. "Hes a good pitcher. He pitches well." The Nationals were without infielder Ryan Zimmerman, who went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained right hamstring. "Its a pretty substantial strain of the hamstring," Williams said. "You never know how its going to react, so well just take it day by day. Its going to be a couple of weeks at least. Well see where he is at the end of that and go from there. He pulled it good." NOTES: Werth wasnt in the starting lineup because of a tender right knee. ... The Nationals are off Thursday before opening a three-game series in Cincinnati. Wizards Jerseys Outlet . Inter moved five points behind fourth-place Fiorentina and eight points behind third-place Napoli, which visits relegation-threatened Sassuolo on Sunday. Jodie Meeks Jersey . According to bodog.ca, Cleveland moved up to grab the best odds to win the Larry OBrian trophy at 4-1 on Friday. By comparison, the Miami Heats odds plummeted from 3-1 favourites before LeBron left, to 50-1. http://www.cheapwizardsjerseys.com/. Detroits powerful offence made that unnecessary. Scherzer allowed two hits and struck out seven, and the Tigers backed their star right-hander with three early homers in an 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night. Throwback Wizards Jerseys . The Padres made the moves before Fridays game at Washington. They promoted infielder Jace Peterson from Double-A San Antonio and right-hander Kevin Quackenbush from Triple-A El Paso. Bradley Beal Jersey . - Suspended Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon has voluntarily checked into a treatment facility and seems to be doing well.SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Carolina Panthers rookie running back Tyler Gaffney will have season-ending surgery after tearing the lateral meniscus in his left knee. Gaffney was Carolinas sixth-round draft pick out of Stanford and was expected to provide some depth in the backfield. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Saturday night after practice that Gaffney will have surgery next week and will be placed on injured reserve. "Were disappointed for him and were disappointed for us because he certainly fit what we do," Rivera said. Gaffney started 14 games last season for Stanford and led the team with 1,709 yards rushing on 330 carries. Rivera said Gaffney injured his knee in Friday nights Fan Fest while attempting to make a cut. Gaffney left practice early, but didnt appear to be seriously hurt at the time. An MRI showed differently. "It was on a running play," Rivera said. "He ran a sweep coming out to our offfensive left (side).dddddddddddd He made a really nice cut. It was a bump and a little bit of a turn on the knee and he said he felt it pop." Gaffney had 486 carries last season, second-most in Stanford history. He ranked first in the Pac-12 and fifth in the nation with 21 touchdowns rushing. He compiled nine 100-yard rushing performances, the second most in Stanford history. The 6-foot, 220-pound Gaffney stood a good chance to make Carolinas roster even with a crowded backfield that includes veterans DeAngelo Williams, Stewart and fullback Mike Tolbert. Rivera said the Panther plan to sign another running back, particularly with Stewart hobbled by a hamstring injury. Rivera said the team will miss Gaffneys toughness, calling him a "workhorse style of back. Hes similar in stature to Jonathan Stewart. He runs like Jonathan and he would have been a good (insurance) policy for us." 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