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WSH@SD: Lannan outduels Richard, earns win vs. Padres

The Rockies are trying desperately to climb out of a place they've rarely been since Jim Tracy took over as manager more than two years ago. The problem is, they don't know how much firepower they'll have as they attempt to make some headway this weekend against the Nationals.

With a loss to the Braves on Thursday, the Rockies fell to six games under .500 for the first time since the early stages of Tracy's tenure, when he helped lead the club out of trouble and into the playoffs in 2009.

They've lost five straight, struggling without the services of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (out since Monday with a right quadriceps strain) and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (out since Sunday with a right wrist injury).

Gonzalez -- batting .296 with 13 homers and 51 RBIs -- could return Friday after taking batting practice Thursday.

"I have every reason to believe he'll be in the lineup [Friday]," Tracy said. "As a matter of fact, he pretty much told me so."

Tulowitzki, who also could start at shortstop for the National League All-Star team Tuesday in Phoenix if he's healthy, has been receiving treatment. He leads the Rockies with 17 homers.

To make matters worse, the Rockies lost rookie outfielder Charlie Blackmon in the third inning of Thursday's game with a fractured left foot, suffered while running the bases.

"I'm juggling balls right now," Tracy said.

Regardless of who's in the lineup, the Rockies will go head to head with Nationals pitcher John Lannan (5-5, 3.50), who is winless since June 22.

The Nationals also had one of those days on Thursday, when they blew an eight-run lead en route to dropping their series finale against the Cubs, 10-9.

Washington could benefit from the return of Laynce Nix, who sat out Thursday's game with a sore Achilles' tendon. Nix pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Thursday and was lifted for a pinch-runner after drawing a walk.

Rockies: Hammel also trying to rebound
Rockies starter Jason Hammel is coming off a dismal start against the Royals.

In 3 2/3 innings, he surrendered six runs (five earned) on seven hits, including two Melky Cabrera homers, in a 16-8 loss.

Nationals: Start me up
Livan Hernandez's rough start in Washington's loss over the Cubs on Thursday marked just the third time in the past 15 games that Nationals starters have allowed more than three runs.

• Ivan Rodriguez was a late scratch from the Nationals' starting lineup Thursday after straining his right oblique during batting practice and will be re-evaluated to see if a disabled-list stint is necessary.

Worth noting
• Rockies first baseman Todd Helton has 543 career doubles, tying him for 24th on baseball's all-time list.

• Nationals rookie Danny Espinosa's 16 home runs are tied for the most among Major League second basemen with the Brewers' Rickie Weeks.

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