Just when it looked like 2017 might be remembered for the epic collapse of one of the greatest Colorado Rockies to ever pull on purple pinstripes, Carlos Gonzalez has made himself an indispensable factor during the most important stretch of baseball, never more so than in Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he provided all the Rockies’ runs on a pair of two-run blasts.
He looked like old CarGo.
Colorado has now won six straight on the road against the two NL West teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Rockies were down by one in the bottom of the third when Charlie Blackmon led off the frame by drawing a walk. DJ LeMahieu made an out before Gonzalez took a vintage swing, turning on a high fastball and scorching it well over the wall in right center field. As promising as it has been for the Rockies lately to see CarGo consistently contributing to the offense and even upping the extra-base hit output, he still hadn’t shown the ability to pull pitches with authority in the way that made him rich and famous. Until this swing.
Gonzalez repeated the feat in the seventh, capitalizing on a Lemahieu single, sending one even deeper into the hot Phoenix night. And with that, he gave all who dared look on a glimpse that he may, indeed, be back. It wasn’t just one smash shot, but two, looking every bit the multiple-time All-Star he is. It was his first four-RBI game of the season, coming at an opportune time. It was CarGo’s first multi-homer game since August of 2016.
Rockies starter Jon Gray did his part, mostly keeping the Diamondbacks at bay, once again the Wolf getting the better of the Snakes. He finally managed to go seven innings, giving up just two earned runs on seven hits, getting 10 pivotal strikeouts without walking a soul. He gave up a leadoff home run to J.D. Martines — who appears to have his number — in the second and got into a bases loaded jam with nobody out in the third but managed to just give up a sac fly by Jake Lamb. Paul Goldschmidt then lined into an unfortunate double play thanks to a heads up play from Trevor Story and the inning was over. It was pretty much smooth sailing from there for Gray.
Scott Oberg came on in the eighth and pitched a clean inning, showcasing his incredible stuff once again by touching 100 mph with the fastball. That’s probably why manager Bud Black felt comfortable sending Oberg back out to the mound in the ninth with the two-run lead. Oberg gave up a leadoff double to Martinez (man, that guy can hit) but got A.J Pollock to ground out, ending his night and giving way to Chris Rusin. Rusin got Daniel Descalso to fly out to center and quick-pitched Ketel Marte into a weak ground out at second to end the game, picking up the second save of his season and career.
Colorado improved to 80-65 and with both St. Louis and Milwaukee winning maintained their three-game lead in the National League Wild Card.