Gonzalez finds swing as offense breaks out
ROCKIES 9, PADRES 7
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-
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.”
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.