Rockies use big first inning to beat Padres 7-4
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Carlos Gonzalez has stood out as one of the few bright spots for the last-place Colorado Rockies.
Rookies Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco had consecutive two-run doubles in the first inning to lead the Rockies to a 7-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
But Gonzalez quietly went about his job by equaling his career high with four hits, all singles. He also stole two bases to become the first Rockie to reach the 20-20 club in three consecutive seasons.
"It means a lot because every year in spring training I always try to get better and get better numbers than the year before and stay consistent," Gonzalez said. "I'm always trying to get better and maybe in future I can do better things."
Rockies manager Jim Tracy appreciates Gonzalez's consistent play and the example he sets for the younger players.
"Carlos just plays, just like we are seeing with Dexter Fowler," Tracy said. "They are continuing to play. I think that's very important, that message to be sent to our younger players."
Gonzalez had his breakout season in 2010 when he set career highs in batting (.336), homers (34), RBIs (117) and stolen bases (26). He followed that up by hitting .296 with 26 homers and stealing 20 bases last season.
When he stole second base in the ninth inning, it gave Gonzalez 22 home runs with 20 stolen bases.
"I never stopped believing that my swing is going to get back to where I want it," Gonzalez said.
There's not much left to play for in a season when Colorado has clinched last place in the NL West. But the Rockies (58-85) still need to win 10 of their final 19 games to avoid tying the club's worst record at 67-95.
Chris Nelson and rookie Charlie Blackmon each hit solo homers as the Rockies won for just the third time in 11 games. Nelson tied his career high with three hits.
Rosario and Pacheco's big hits keyed a five-run first inning in which Colorado sent 10 men to the plate against Andrew Cashner (3-4).
Rookie Yonder Alonso hit a grand slam in the first inning for San Diego, which had won seven of eight overall and 11 of its previous 13 at home.
"We got right back in the game with the grand slam," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We had a couple of opportunities, but couldn't come away with a big hit to keep anything going."
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