DENVER -- Anyone who witnessed Carlos Gonzalez's towering three-run blast into the Ponderosa Pines beyond the Rockies' center field fence Friday can attest to the fact that CarGo's got his groove on. He tied a career high with six RBIs and set a Rockies record with five of them in one inning.
"It goes without saying the type of damage he can do as an offensive player when he forces people to throw pitches over the plate vs. expanding the strike zone," manager Jim Tracy said. "He's a very dangerous hitter whether it's a right- or left-handed pitcher standing out there."
Gonzalez's fifth-inning home run tied the game, as the Rockies started the inning down four, and 11 runs later they had a seven-run lead coming out of the frame. Gonzalez's patience at the plate enabled him to work the count full and finally see the pitch he was waiting on, and it contributed to a team-wide enhanced offensive output, due in part to forcing up pitch counts.
"He made really good pitches -- it was a good battle," Gonzalez said of Mets pitcher Chris Schwinden. "I took him to a 3-2 count and he gave me a good pitch, a 3-2 changeup. I kind of was waiting for it, trying to stay back and drive it to dead center field.
"I was thinking off-speed, because the guy doesn't have a powerful fastball. Even if he throws me a fastball, I can hit at least a foul ball or put the ball in play. I was 80 percent sure it was going to be a breaking ball, because that's what he threw all night."
The 3-for-6 night at the plate gave Gonzalez a .350 (14-for-40) average against right-handers this season, and his plate discipline is testament to a significant improvement from Rockies hitters up and down the plate.
"You see a lot more pitches," Gonzalez said of his approach at the plate. "Your eyes are going to get better. You're going to let the ball travel. Your hands are going to be better. When you see a lot of pitches, that's going to help you, and that's going to help the team."