Rox blast six homers in blowout of Reds
CarGo hits three long balls, Tulo goes 5-for-5; Garland rebounds
CINCINNATI -- If Rockies sluggers Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki lost count of the distances of their five combined home runs Wednesday night, or didn't feel like calculating the All-Star Game votes they inspired, they could always just count the hairs on their chests.
Gonzalez swatted three homers, one a tape-measure shot, and Tulowitzki crushed two on a five-hit night as the Rockies routed the Reds, 12-4, to win a three-game series at Great American Ball Park, becoming only the second road team to win a series in Cincinnati this season.
"This is one of the toughest teams in the National League," Gonzalez said. "They can really play baseball."
Todd Helton also homered as the Rockies finished with six homers, which are tied for second-most in club history. They've accomplished the feat six times, and it was one homer shy of the club record of seven on April 5, 1997, at Montreal. They also had a season-high 20 hits, including a career-high four by rookie Nolan Arenado.
More importantly, the Rockies have won four of their past five and are in second place in the National League West going into a four-game series against the Padres at Coors Field starting Thursday night. The homestand consists of 10 games in 11 days.
"Hopefully, we have some momentum, and it carries over," Helton said. "To beat these guys two out of three is big. That's a good team over there. So, we did a good job tonight."
"I tell you, that was a real whooping right there," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I haven't seen that many balls hit that hard ... you knew they could hit, and once they started hitting, it gets contagious."
It was the second three-homer game for Gonzalez, who accomplished the feat May 30, 2012, at home against the Astros. The first three blasts were off Reds rookie Pedro Villarreal, who made his first Major League start after Johnny Cueto was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day.
The first long ball was a solo shot by Gonzalez. The second went for three runs off Gonzalez's bat to give the Rockies the lead for good. The Reds estimated the homer at 476 feet, which is 11th-longest in park history. ESPN's Home Run Tracker listed the homer at 458 feet. Had ESPN's system concurred with the Reds' announcement, it would have been the longest homer in the Majors this season. Gonzalez's final homer, his team-leading 17th of the season, was off Manny Parra for two runs in the eighth.
Tulowitzki hit a two-run shot in the third off Villarreal and a solo jack in the eighth off Parra directly after Gonzalez's third homer to lift his season total to 15. The Reds measured the second homer at 415 feet. Tulowitzki, whose two-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday night gave the Rockies a 5-4 victory, accomplished his third five-hit game. The last time was Aug. 27, 2011, against the Dodgers.
Helton's two-run shot in the seventh off Alfredo Simon was his sixth of the season and third in the last six games. Before the current stretch, the veteran Helton's batting average was below .220 and many were calling for him to bow out of the regular lineup. Now he is at .241 and a key cog in a strong offense.
"Hopefully I'll keep building on it," Helton said. "I feel pretty comfortable after taking some bad swings, but there were sprinkled in some good ones, too."
The hitting overshadowed a bounceback pitching performance for right-hander Jon Garland, who had lost his previous four decisions and had given up five runs in each of his previous three outings.
The first inning looked like more of the same for Garland. Given the lead on Gonzalez's solo homer, Garland gave up three hits and four runs, including Xavier Paul's three-run homer with two outs.
After the homer, however, Garland retired nine straight and only gave up one hit, Jack Hannahan's two-out double in the fourth, before leaving after six innings. Garland gave up four hits and struck out three for his first win since May 4.
"I've been doing that a lot lately, putting my team behind, but you saw how strong our offense is," Garland said. "It was good to have some success. I still need to keep the ball down. I don't throw 95 mph, so I have to keep the ball down."