Gon­za­lez finds swing as of­fense breaks out


The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

The three-legged race through the Na­tional League West took a long-dis­tance turn Tues­day when, far away from Coors Field, the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs traded for one of the most im­pact­ful bats avail­able on the open mar­ket in J.D. Martinez. An hour or so later, the D-Backs trounced the Cincin­nati Reds.

The Rockies, mean­while, looked within, re­peat­ing a maxim they have clung to for weeks: The of­fense will find life.

Af­ter an 9-7 vic­tory over the vis­it­ing San Diego Padres, Colorado’s 1,000th at Coors Field, the Rockies have rea­son to be­lieve in their bats. In a third con­sec­u­tive vic­tory, each with at least nine runs scored, Colorado broke out again at the plate.

Car­los Gon­za­lez, hi­ber­nat­ing in a nest of strike­outs and crooked swings for a month, dou­bled in two runs in the fifth in­ning and sin­gled in an­other in the sixth. And Gerardo Parra dou­bled and scored three runs as the Rockies clinched their first se­ries vic­tory since June 18.

“We know CarGo. CarGo is the man on this team,” Parra said. “Even when he is strug­gling, he is the man.”

“Let’s keep car­ry­ing it over,” Colorado man­ager Bud Black said. “We had a lot of con­trib­u­tors. That’s big for those guys.”

Black said his con­fi­dence in Rockies right fielder Gon­za­lez, who was hit­ting just .214 com­ing in, with six home runs, has re-

mained high.

The Rockies needed ev­ery bit of Gon­za­lez’s ef­forts and an ac­tive lineup in a marathon with the Padres. San Diego pegged Rockies rookie right-han­der An­to­nio Sen­za­tela for three runs in the first in­ning, in­clud­ing an RBI dou­ble from Jose Pirela. Mark Reynolds, though, tied the game with one swing in the bot­tom half, sail­ing a home run to cen­ter that also scored Char­lie Black­mon and Parra.

Sen­za­tela, a 22-year-old from Venezuela, was pitch­ing his first start since June 22, af­ter the Rockies set him aside for a bullpen breather in his first full sea­son. He set­tled in to get 12 of the next 15 bat­ters he faced. Wil My­ers’ solo homer to left in the fifth in­ning gave San Diego a 4-3 lead.

The Rockies quickly wrested con­trol. They sent eight bat­ters to the plate in the bot­tom of the fifth and scored four runs, two of them on Gon­za­lez’s dou­ble off the fence above the bullpen wall in left-cen­ter. It was Gon­za­lez’s first dou­ble since June 21 and just his third ex­tra-base hit since June 6.

When Colorado faded from first place in the West at the end of June, in­clud­ing an eight-game los­ing skid, the slump neatly co­in­cided with Gon­za­lez’s. On a team with four all-stars, the lefty slug­ger with the sweet swing is cru­cial to the Rockies’ run this sea­son.

Said Nolan Are­nado ear­lier this sea­son: “We have a chance to take it to an­other level when CarGo gets go­ing. Ev­ery­one in the league knows CarGo. They know how hot he can get. We need him. When he does get hot, our lineup will change for sure.”

Gon­za­lez lined a run-scor­ing sin­gle to right in the sixth that gave the Rox a 9-6 lead. Then Co- ors Field crossed its fin­gers. Sen­za­tela ex­ited be­fore the sixth in­ning af­ter al­low­ing four hits and three earned runs. Lefty long man Chris Rusin then was nib­bled for two in­field hits, a sac­ri­fice fly from Erick Ay­bar and a run-adding sin­gle from pinch-hit­ter Matt Szczur.

Jor­dan Lyles re­placed Rusin to al­low a lead­off homer to Car­los Asuaje, the first of Asuaje’s ca­reer. Anx­i­ety swelled as the bases loaded, on a walk, a DJ LeMahieu er­ror and an in­field sin­gle. But Lyles dreamed up an in­ningkilling dou­ble play, from Reynolds to Trevor Story and back to Lyles at first. Jake McGee and Greg Hol­land shut down the eighth and ninth in­nings, with Hol­land earn­ing his 30th save of the sea­son.

The Rockies have scored 31 runs in three days, find­ing, for now, the of­fense they had sought.

“Maybe four (straight wins) to­mor­row. Maybe 20 more runs to­mor­row,” said Parra, who had his right calf wrapped and ice af­ter a foul ball bruised his leg.

“We just stay pos­i­tive and play hard and play to­gether.”

Matthew Stock­man, Getty Im­ages

Rockies right fielder Car­los Gon­za­lez, who has been bat­tling a sea­son-long slump, de­liv­ers an RBI sin­gle Tues­day night at Coors Field, scor­ing Gerardo Parra.

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