How quickly fortunes can change in baseball.
"This club created a little bit of its own baggage at the beginning of last season, and then was able to kind of reset their minds in the second half. We've had some turbulence this year," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "They show up good every day, they don't get too high, they don't get too low. They're happy, but we also expect to win."
The loss dropped the Nationals to a season-worst 13½ games out of first place in the NL East, and after the game they fired John Wetteland as bullpen coach, offering him another job in the organization.
In another sign of where things stand for the Nationals as the New York Yankees arrive for a three-game series, manager Frank Robinson held a closed-door clubhouse meeting with his players.
"The message was: We worked very hard for 3½ weeks to get ourselves straightened out ... and in four days, we fell right back into that hole," Robinson said.
It was the franchise's first four-game sweep since they were the Expos and dropped four in a row at San Diego from April 26-29, 2004.
"We played like a minor league team, so everybody's upset, not only Frank," said Alfonso Soriano, who went 0-for-5 Thursday.
He failed to homer against the Rockies, ending an 11-series streak with at least one homer. Soriano was hardly the only Nationals player who had problems against Jennings (5-6), who changed speeds and located well.
Hurdle's description: "Hard and soft, in and out, up and down."
Jennings shut out Washington until the seventh, when third baseman Garrett Atkins' two-base error allowed an unearned run to score. Otherwise, Jennings was dominant, scattering six hits and two walks, along with six strikeouts, before leaving after 120 pitches.
Washington didn't even get a runner to third or manage to put together more than one hit in an inning off Jennings until the sixth.
Hawpe hit a two-run homer in the second and a two-run single in the seventh off Livan Hernandez (5-7).
The right-hander gave up six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits and five walks in 6 2/3 innings. He threw a season-high 138 pitches, left in the game because Washington's bullpen was in tatters after relievers worked 11 2/3 innings in the series' first three games.
"Baseball is like that. You've got to understand you're not going to be perfect every day," Hernandez said.
Colorado's Todd Helton had a single, a double and three walks, reaching base in nine straight plate appearances over two games. No. 2 hitter Cory Sullivan was credited with three sacrifices, giving him a major league-record seven over two games; he tied the big league mark with four on Wednesday night.
"Helton's our top dog. When he's hitting the ball well, it helps everybody out," said Hawpe, whose 12th homer of the season was the 16th Hernandez has allowed.
So the Rockies leave with the third four-game road sweep in franchise history and first since Aug. 11-14, 2000, at Montreal, of all places.
"We knew we were going to face a tough pitcher, a guy you're going to have to swing the bat to beat. Our guys were able to stay on him, make him get in the zone," Hurdle said. "It's a nice feeling to get out of here with four wins."
- Helton is hitting .417 (95-for-228) for his career against the Expos-Nationals.
- Washington's Robert Fick was ejected by plate umpire Brian Gorman after arguing when he struck out in the eighth.
- Atkins has a hit in 14 consecutive games.
- Colorado outscored Washington 35-14 in the series.
- Washington's Brendan Harris made his first major league start at shortstop; his throwing error in the fifth led to an unearned run.