With one swing of the bat on Thursday night, Carlos Gonzalez ended 24 innings of offensive frustration for the Colorado Rockies.
Outscored 21-4 in two poor showings against the Tampa Bay Rays, Gonzalez drilled a three-run homer deep over the Bridich Barrier in left-center field to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and propel the Rockies to a 7-3 decision over the Atlanta Braves.
In every sense of the word, the homer off Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz was a no-doubter. CarGo’s shot was his 20th of the season and left his bat at 114 mph, traveling an estimated 459 feet. It wasn’t a matter if it was going to stay in the park. It was simply a matter of where it was going to land.
“(Foltynewicz) has really good stuff. A power fastball with good breaking balls,” Gonzalez said. “I saw a lot of pitches in my first two at-bats. I was ready for one mistake. I knew that I was going to get one pitch the whole night and that was it. I’m glad I didn’t miss it and waste that great outing that Bettis was throwing.
“That’s the situation I’m looking for the whole time. Every time I’m in the lineup, I want to hit in those big moments and those big opportunities. Sometimes I’m going to fail but I’d rather have those opportunities in front of me. Tonight was another one and I didn’t waste it.”
It was also CarGo’s first homer of the second half of the season and his first since he was swatting balls over Petco Park’s walls during the recent Home Run Derby as a part of MLB’s All-Star festivities.
“That was as loud as it gets. It was a sweet sound coming off the bat,” Gonzalez smiled. “Obviously that’s the first home run of the second half so hopefully I continue to have good at-bats.
“They do a pretty good job here (showing stats). As soon as the inning was over, they showed on the scoreboard that it was 114 coming off the bat and he threw me a 97 mile per hour fastball. Whenever we square those fastballs, great things are going to happen.”
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The look on CarGo’s face after hitting the homer said a lot about how much it meant to him and the team to get the offensively challenged monkey off their backs.
“We’ve been facing some pretty good arms and not being able to score runs was frustrating,” Gonzalez said. “When I hit that home run, I kind of looked angry. But I was just pumped up, because I knew Bettis was doing a tremendous job. Not being able to score runs, I took it personally — he was doing his thing, we’ve got to be able to do our things.”
Carlos Gonzalez also laughed that his homer was upstaged a bit in the next inning when Mark Reynolds crushed a pinch-hit 484-foot shot, accounting for the second-longest homer this season in MLB.
“That’s what I want to see from him. I told him to stop shooting the ball to right field,” Gonzalez laughed. “He’s a powerful hitter. When he squares one up, he’s going to hit it far.”