Carlos Gonzalez homers twice as Rockies beat D-backs for sixth straight win

PHOENIX — The slump began in the spring and lingered deep into summer, but Carlos Gonzalez never lost faith in himself, nor in his ability to help carry the Rockies toward the playoffs.

All he needed, he kept insisting, was time to iron out some mechanical flaws in his pretty swing. It took longer than anyone thought, but CarGo has returned.

Gonzalez mashed a pair of two-run homers Tuesday night, powering the Rockies to an important 4-2 victory over Arizona at Chase Field. Gonzalez was assisted by starter Jon Gray, who pitched seven strong innings, giving up two runs on seven hits. Gray whiffed 10, didn’t walk anyone and improved to 8-4.

“There was no reason to lose faith, because I had everybody’s support,” said Gonzalez after the 20th career multi-homer game of his career. “I had the fans, my manager, my teammates, my family, all of them have been there for me.

“We (players) always keep our heads up. This is a tough league, a tough sport, and like I’ve told you before, I know how it feels to be a great player and I know how it feels to be a bad player. This game will always keep you humble.”

With usual closer Greg Holland unavailable, having pitched three of the last four games, the Rockies turned to right-hander Scott Oberg to pitch four outs and left-hander Chris Rusin to nail down the final two. Oberg gave up a double to J.D. Martinez in the ninth, but Rusin hushed the rally to pick up his second save this season, and just the second save of his career.

Gonzalez’s second homer broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh. DJ. LeMahieu beat the Diamondbacks’ extreme shift by hitting a single to left center, setting the stage for Gonzalez. He plastered reliever David Hernandez’s 2-1 curveball deep into the right-field seats for his 12th homer of the season.

“CarGo has worked hard the entire season, trying to find his groove,” manager Bud Black said. “Hopefully now, where we are, in arguably the most important month of the year, if he finds his swing and finds his groove, that’s a great thing for the Rockies.”

Colorado’s sixth straight victory (and eighth consecutive road victory) moved it within three games of the Diamondbacks for the National League’s top wild card. The two teams chasing the Rockies (80-65) for the second wild-card spot both won Tuesday. St. Louis (76-68), winners of eight of its last 10, routed Cincinnati 13-4 to remain 3½ behind the Rockies. Milwaukee (76-69) beat Pittsburgh 5-2 to stay within four games of Colorado.

Gonzalez’s fix was not a quick one, but it had simple roots. He had fallen into a habit of wrapping his hands around the barrel of the bat. That is, putting the barrel in the palm of his hand instead of using his fingers to control the bat.

“I was doing it unconsciously,” Gonzalez said of wrapping the bat. “For some reason this year, I was wrapping the bat again.”

BOX SCORE: Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2

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