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Wait until the end for CarGo's cycle

@harding_at_mlb
April 10, 2020

DENVER -- Carlos González’s cycle, which he completed with a third-deck, walk-off homer for the Rockies on July 31, 2010, in a 6-5 win over the Cubs, was a feat of skilled hitting. But baseball has its element of luck. In this case, bad luck worked out for good. And

DENVER -- Carlos González’s cycle, which he completed with a third-deck, walk-off homer for the Rockies on July 31, 2010, in a 6-5 win over the Cubs, was a feat of skilled hitting. But baseball has its element of luck.

In this case, bad luck worked out for good.

And before describing how a bad bounce worked in González’s favor, let’s jump to the glorious ending.

González led off a bottom of ninth inning that didn’t last long. He unloaded on Cubs reliever Sean Marshall’s first pitch and watched in delight -- along with most of the sellout crowd of 48,065 -- as the ball flew into the third deck. The reason the last sentence said “most” and not “all” was the opponent was the Cubs, who have boisterous fans everywhere. And González’s game-winner landed in the hands of a fan in a Cubs shirt, who sat dejectedly as the home crowd erupted.

Now, back to the bad/good luck.

González began his game with a single to right field off left-hander Tom Gorzelanny in the first inning.

The hardest part of any cycle is the triple, although Coors is one of those parks where triples happen more than most parks -- and so do cycles.

In the third inning, Gorzelanny had an 0-2 count when González lit into a pitch that seemed headed over the right-center wall and into the Cubs’ bullpen. But the ball crunched against the top of the wall, not over it, and caromed onto the field. González, who left the batter’s box slowly, expecting a homer, made it to third easily.

With the Rockies leading, 4-2, in the seventh inning, González took Gorzelanny to the right-center gap for a double, and the cycle was a homer away.

The game turned from a CarGo party to a nail-biter when the Cubs’ Derrek Lee swatted a three-run homer off Rafael Betancourt in the eighth to tie the game, 5-5. But Lee’s homer merely set up the special finish that was part of an even more special season for González.

González won the National League batting title with a .336 batting average in 145 games. He also led the league in hits (197) and total bases (351).

Despite years of bad fortune with injuries, González played for the Rockies through 2018. He ranks second in club history in games played (1,247); third in hits (1,330), total bases (2,336) and doubles (277); tied for fourth with Nolan Arenado in home runs (227); and fourth in RBIs (749) and bases on balls (417).

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.