WASHINGTON — The Colorado Rockies are frustrated, sure. Panicking? No way.
After generating one run and six hits in the series opener against Jordan Zimmermann, the Rockies managed the same against a dominant Stephen Strasburg and two relievers.
Strasburg struck out nine over seven innings and Ian Desmond homered in his third straight game as the Nationals beat Colorado 2-1 on Friday night, sending the Rockies to their fifth straight loss.
"You don't want to lose this many games in a row but I think we've been in a lot of games so it's just a matter of time until we break through," Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood said of the current slide. "I think we'll be just fine."
Making his 14th start of the season, Strasburg (4-6) allowed one run on five hits for his first victory since May 31. After DJ LeMahieu's RBI single in the third inning, Strasburg kept the Rockies scoreless.
Trailing 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Anthony Rendon singled off Chatwood and came around to score the tying run on Ryan Zimmerman's double into the right field corner.
Facing reliever Manny Corpas (0-2) leading off the seventh, Desmond swatted a 2-0 pitch over the center field wall for his 12th homer.
Colorado picked up a timely two-out hit against Strasburg in the third as LeMahieu singled to left, scoring Josh Rutledge from second. That was the Rockies only hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Over the five losses, the Rockies have scored eight runs.
"We've played good baseball, we just haven't come up with big hits," said right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a first-inning single. "We've run into some tough pitching over the last week but we have to come out here tomorrow and play good baseball again."
Desmond's home runs have come during each game in the three-win streak, Washington's longest since claiming five straight from May 4-10.
"We've been playing better baseball, that's the most important thing," Zimmerman said of the back-to-back-to-back victories. "The past four or five games we've really started to play like we should have been playing."
Reliever Drew Storen worked the eighth and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 19th save as the Nationals moved one game above .500 at 37-36 while the Rockies fell one game under at 37-38.
Rutledge doubled with two-out in the seventh, but Zimmerman recorded the final out with a running, over the shoulder catch of pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin's pop-up in foul territory along the left field line. After Dexter Fowler reached second base with one out in the eighth following a walk and Storen's throwing error, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer struck out.
"There's no secret formula," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You go up there, take good at bats, take some timely hits. That's all you can do."
In two starts since returning from the disabled list on June 16 following a lower lat strain, Strasburg has surrendered one earned run and seven hits over 12 innings.
Corpas pitched 1 2-3 innings, allowing only Desmond's homer.
Chatwood entered the game having allowed one earned run in three road starts. The Nationals failed to put a runner into scoring position through five innings. He gave up one run and four hits over six innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
Cuddyer's opposite field single in the first inning extended the longest active hitting streak in the majors. Cuddyer promptly stole second base and moved to third with one out, but Strasburg neatly ended the threat with a strikeout and grounder.
NOTES: Cuddyer has reached base safely in 38 straight games, tying the Rockies record set by Matt Holliday in 2007. ...Fowler (right ring finger) returned to the Rockies' lineup in the leadoff spot after missing the previous three games. ... The Rockies called up OF Corey Dickerson from Triple-A Colorado Springs and designated RHP Logan Kensing for assignment. ...Colorado RHP Jhoulys Chacin (5-3, 4.26) opposes Dan Haren (4-8, 5.72) for Saturday's 12:05 p.m. matchup