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SF@WSH: Zimmermann fans seven, allows one run in six

With the best record in the National League and a nice 4 1/2-game cushion in the NL East, Washington is halfway to its first postseason appearance since the franchise moved in 2005.

But with all the first-half success, it'd be a disappointment if the Nationals were to enter the All-Star break having lost a series to the Rockies, who are last in the NL West. Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound for Sunday's rubber match, charged with making sure that doesn't happen.

In a previous game against the Rockies this season, Zimmermann was dominant, giving up one run in seven innings.

"He was outstanding," Washington manager Davey Johnson said afterward.

Victimized by a lack of run support through most of the season, Zimmermann is finally getting backed up by the Nationals. In his last two starts -- both wins -- his offense has scored 11 and nine runs.

The right-hander has gone at least six innings in each of his 16 starts this year.

Starting for the Rockies is Jeremy Guthrie, who started Opening Day, was demoted to the bullpen as the club instilled a four-man rotation, and is back as a starter. Guthrie hasn't been the innings-eater the Rockies hoped he'd be (5.4 per start) and is tied for third in the NL in home runs allowed.

His last start, however, was a step in the right direction. Guthrie held the Cardinals to two runs in six innings, and even chipped in an RBI single at the plate July 4.

"It's important for teammates to recognize where I've come up short this year," Guthrie said. "Everybody's making moves to help the team, and hopefully I can stay positive."

Sunday will mark the final game between the Nationals and Rockies of the 2012 season.

Rockies: Colvin on a tear
Outfielder Tyler Colvin's play has forced the Rockies to sit Todd Helton more than usual, but it's been worth it. Colvin has homered four times in the last five games, with eight RBIs. "I try to stay the same, not getting really excited, not getting really mad," Colvin said. "That's what makes really good players really good."

Nationals: The heat is on
After dealing with record heat in Denver and Atlanta, Washington D.C. has provided little respite for the Nationals. The high Saturday was 105 degrees, and it's expected to be 99 on Sunday, when the Nationals play their second straight day game. "I hear it's leaving us on Monday and we're taking a break," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I hope it stays gone. I don't mind it, but I know how hard it is sometimes playing in it."

Worth noting
• Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin will throw a two-part bullpen session on Thursday, when the Rockies have an optional workout at Coors Field. The righty was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA before going on the disabled list with nerve damage in the right side of his chest.

• Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, who started on Saturday and went 2-for-3 with a homer, has been replaced on the National League roster by Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn. Desmond suffered a left oblique strain, for which he has undergone treatment and rest has been recommended.

• The Nationals have won 11 of their last 17 for a season-high 16 games over .500.

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