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Colorado (21-18) «1310200029172
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Gonzalez HRs twice in career night for Rockies

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Carlos Gonzalez provided the Colorado Rockies with a much needed offensive boost.

He homered twice and finished with a career-high five hits to lead the struggling Rockies to a 9-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

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Gonzalez was 5 for 5 and fell a triple shy of a cycle, and Eric Young also homered for the Rockies, who had lost five of their last six. Colorado had scored 12 runs in those games, including eight Sunday at St. Louis.

Colorado increased its lead to 5-0 in the third when Gonzalez hit his eighth of the season deep into the right-field bleachers. His home run in the ninth put the Rockies up 8-3 and gave him nine multi-home run games in his career.

He also continued to torment the Cubs, raising his lifetime average against Chicago to .427, while getting to seven home runs and 16 RBI in 19 games.

Gonzalez became the first Rockies player to have five hits since Miguel Olivo on May 12, 2010, and his outburst was well-timed for a struggling Colorado team.

"It was a bad stretch, not being able to score runs or be able to help the team," Gonzalez said. "I think the pitchers did a tremendous job every single game but it's frustrating when you're not able to put runs on the board."

That wasn't an issue for the Rockies, whose 17 hits matched a season-high allowed by the Cubs. Troy Tulowitzki had three while Young, Todd Helton, Nolan Arenado had two apiece for the Rockies.

Along with Young, who hit his first home run of the season, Gonzalez paced the Rockies, who were in danger of falling to one game above .500 for the first time since April 10.

"[Gonzalez] is one of those players that's always a day away from doing something like that, or doing something you rarely see in this game," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's got that kind of ability. It was nice to see not only him, but our offense bust out tonight."

Pitcher Jeff Francis also returned to form for the Rockies.

Francis (2-3), winless since April 5, pitched six innings and gave up one run and three hits while striking out seven. After winning his first start, Francis was 0-3 with an 8.25 ERA over his next six outings.

Francis slid awkwardly into second base in the sixth, tweaking his right knee and was taken out after pitching the inning, throwing just 80 pitches.

The early exit, however, did little to diminish his night.

"It was one of those nights where you kind of feel you had it going a little bit," Francis said. "Unfortunately that happened but we've got guys down there who are capable of doing what they did."

Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva, meanwhile, did not have it going.

Villanueva (1-3) allowed six runs and 12 hits in five innings for the Cubs. He is winless since April 18 and has allowed 18 earned runs in his last four starts after giving up five in his first four.

With Matt Garza's return from the disabled list looming, Villanueva's time in the starting rotation could be short.

"We will be a stronger team when [Garza] comes back. Obviously I have my own opinions, obviously a move will be made. Tonight didn't help my cause," Villanueva said. "For me I will take the ball whenever they need me."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum wasn't really talking about any potential changes to the rotation. He said Tuesday wasn't a "tryout" for Villanueva.

Perhaps that was a good thing for the Cubs starter.

"Tonight he didn't have any one of his pitches," Sveum said.

That was apparent early, with the Rockies scoring five times in the first three innings. Young hit his home run in the second, Gonzalez got his first homer in the third, and the Rockies built their lead.

"We have a lineup that can explode at any time. We've got a lot of offensive talent and we've had to grind through this tough time the last week or so," Weiss said. "I always feel like we're capable of busting out with the group we have."

Notes

  • Roy Oswalt threw 64 pitches in an extended spring training start for the Rockies. He is scheduled to pitch again Saturday, and if that start goes well he is expected to join Double-A Tulsa.
  • Garza, who hasn't pitched in the majors this season after straining a lat during spring training, is expected to make a rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. Following that outing, he and the team will decide if he'll come back. Sveum didn't rule out going to a six-man rotation when Garza does come back.
  • Rockies manager Walt Weiss said there hasn't been a decision made on whether Juan Nicasio will take his next start in the rotation.
  • Cubs 3B Luis Valbuena was out of the lineup for the third straight day after suffering a jammed right pinky finger Saturday in Washington. Sveum said Valbuena will be in the lineup Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series.
  • Wednesday's pitching matchup is Colorado's Jon Garland (3-3, 4.83) against the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 3.70).
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Carlos Gonzalez goes 5 for 5 with two home runs to carry the Rockies over the Cubs.  (Getty Images)
Carlos Gonzalez goes 5 for 5 with two home runs to carry the Rockies over the Cubs. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Colorado

C. Gonzalez
AB 5
R 3
H 5
HR 2
RBI 3
Chicago

D. Barney
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Colorado Rockies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Eric Young Jr., RF5222002 .274
Dexter Fowler, CF4010011 .262
Carlos Gonzalez, LF5353000 .313
Troy Tulowitzki, SS5231001 .324
Wilin Rosario, C5010014 .269
Todd Helton, 1B4022002 .270
Nolan Arenado, 3B5120004 .254
Josh Rutledge, 2B4110011 .241
Jeff Francis, P1001111 .000
    Edgmer Escalona, P1000000 .000
    Rafael Betancourt, P0000000 .000
Totals39917914  
Batting
2B - Eric Young Jr. (8, Villanueva), Dexter Fowler (5, Villanueva), Carlos Gonzalez (10, Villanueva), Troy Tulowitzki 2 (9, Villanueva, Camp), Nolan Arenado (4, Villanueva)
HR - Eric Young Jr. (1, Villanueva), Carlos Gonzalez 2 (9, Villanueva, Camp)
SF - Todd Helton (1), Jeff Francis (1)
SH - Dexter Fowler (2)
RBI - Eric Young Jr. 2 (6), Carlos Gonzalez 3 (22), Troy Tulowitzki (32), Todd Helton 2 (14), Jeff Francis (1)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Young Jr. 2 (4), Todd Helton (6)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Edgmer Escalona (1, Throwing), Eric Young Jr. (1, Dropped fly)
Colorado Rockies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Francis (W,2-3) 6311171 6.00
Edgmer Escalona 2120120 1.54
Rafael Betancourt 1311020 1.76
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 80-54, Edgmer Escalona 29-17, Rafael Betancourt 24-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 6-5, Edgmer Escalona 2-4, Rafael Betancourt 1-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 22, Edgmer Escalona 10, Rafael Betancourt 6
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, CF5120022 .281
Starlin Castro, SS5110012 .277
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4000001 .270
Alfonso Soriano, LF4001011 .271
Scott Hairston, RF4000012 .125
Welington Castillo, C4110000 .288
Cody Ransom, 3B3000131 .255
Darwin Barney, 2B4132011 .186
Carlos Villanueva, P0000000 .176
   a- Julio Borbon, PH0000100 .250
    Hector Rondon, P0000000 .000
    Michael Bowden, P0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Sweeney, PH1000010 .214
    Shawn Camp, P0000000 .000
   c- Dioner Navarro, PH1000011 .213
Totals35473211  
a-walked for Villanueva in the 5th
b-struck out for Bowden in the 8th
c-struck out for Camp in the 9th
Batting
2B - Starlin Castro (10, Francis), Welington Castillo (9, Betancourt), Darwin Barney (7, Betancourt)
HR - Darwin Barney (2, Francis)
SH - Carlos Villanueva (2)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (13), Darwin Barney 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Darwin Barney (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Scott Hairston 1, Alfonso Soriano 1
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Carlos Villanueva (L,1-3) 51277012 3.93
Hector Rondon 1000110 3.68
Michael Bowden 2200010 3.78
Shawn Camp 1322011 7.31
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Villanueva 80-53, Hector Rondon 22-12, Michael Bowden 23-17, Shawn Camp 21-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Villanueva 6-6, Hector Rondon 2-0, Michael Bowden 3-2, Shawn Camp 1-1
Batters Faced - Carlos Villanueva 25, Hector Rondon 4, Michael Bowden 8, Shawn Camp 6
Game Information
Attendance - 38123
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Paul Schrieber