HOUSTON -- It's pretty safe to say Astros super utility man Marwin Gonzalez has shed the stigma of being able to hit only solo homers.Gonzalez, whose first 25 career homers came with no runners on base, homered from both sides of the plate in Tuesday night's 8-7 win over the
HOUSTON -- It's pretty safe to say Astros super utility man Marwin Gonzalez has shed the stigma of being able to hit only solo homers.
Gonzalez, whose first 25 career homers came with no runners on base, homered from both sides of the plate in Tuesday night's 8-7 win over the Rangers at Minute Maid Park, including a dramatic two-out grand slam down the right-field line in the eighth inning to help the Astros wipe a 5-0 deficit.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
"First thing I was wishing it would stay fair," Gonzalez said. "It was almost foul. It was an unbelievable moment to be able to come back in the game like that. We have been doing that the whole year, and hopefully we can keep doing that and we're going to be in a good spot for the playoffs."
Gonzalez hit an opposite-field homer from the right side of the plate to start the fifth before launching his first career grand slam off Keone Kela in the eighth. After a 1-for-27 funk from April 10-25, Gonzalez is 7-for-15 (.467) with four homers and 11 RBIs in the last five games.
"He's had power," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think when he gets a good pitch to hit he's always had power. I think the hunting of pitches and his ability to control his swing a little bit -- he's not as wild outside the zone, or even inside the zone over-swinging. I think his maturity is starting to show on both sides of the plate. The opposite-field home run, that's where the real men hit it. He has that kind of power. He's just tapping into by getting himself in a few counts and getting himself a few pitches to hit."
Based on 94.2 mph exit velocity and 41-degree launch angle of his grand slam, it had just a 4 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. Similar balls have gone for a homer only 3 percent of the time, but Gonzalez hit it right down the line. The only other homer to right field with a 94 mph exit velocity and 41-degree combo was Colby Rasmus vs. the Rangers in 2015.
"I was trying to look for a good pitch to hit," Gonzalez said. "On the pitch before, I was a little excited and I swung at a ball. It was the third ball. I was trying to be patient and get a good pitch."
Gonzalez's solo homer in the fifth -- 37 of his 44 career homers have been solo -- ended a 10-pitch at-bat against lefty Alex Claudio.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.