With 3 HRs, Rox roll over reeling Giants
DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez stayed scorching hot with a two-homer, four-hit night, helping propel the Rockies to an 11-3 win over the Giants in Thursday's series opener at Coors Field.
"I just go up to the plate with no worries," Gonzalez said. "Just try to get a good pitch to hit and use the whole field."
Gonzalez hit his first two-run homer as part of a four-run first that saw the Rockies send nine men to the plate off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong (9-11). After the Rockies opened the fourth with three straight singles to grab a five-run lead, Vogelsong exited. At just three-plus innings, it tied for his shortest start of the season.
Gonzalez immediately greeted reliever George Kontos with another two-run homer, this one crushed down the right-field line just inside the foul pole. Nolan Arenado tacked on a two-run homer in the eighth for good measure as Colorado recorded a season-high 19 hits.
The Rockies' early offense was more than enough for left-hander Chris Rusin (5-7), who tossed his second complete game this season. He yielded six hits and three runs with just one walk and five strikeouts, becoming the first Rockies pitcher to throw two complete games at Coors Field in one season since Aaron Cook in 2008.
"When you hear you're going to be pitching at Coors Field, the first thing that runs through your mind is, the ball flies," Rusin said. "That's all you hear from other people, and you've just got to block it out and concentrate even more about hitting your spots. Your ball doesn't move that much. You've got to really locate the ball to be successful here."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First-inning firepower: Gonzalez's blast was the most emphatic hit in the Rockies' pivotal first, but there were contributions all around. After the homer, four of the next five hitters singled, including first baseman Wilin Rosario, who had a key two-run hit. Rosario was just recalled on Tuesday after spending a month in Triple-A Albuquerque, and the base knock gave him his first multi-RBI game since July 3.
"It's huge," Rusin said. "You know you can attack the zone because you have four runs to work with."
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em: Vogelsong accounted for nine of the game's first 10 runs. He yielded eight from the mound -- though only seven were earned -- and he drove in the Giants' first two runs with his first career homer, a third-inning blast into the Rockies' bullpen. Vogelsong pitched in parts of 11 big leagues prior to 2015 without ever going yard.
"I'm not enjoying it at all," Vogelsong said of the homer, which came on such a rough night. "I was just looking for a ball to hit the other way with a guy on second. I just put a good swing on it. I didn't know [if it had a chance]. I know I hit it good, but when you don't have one, you don't ever know, I guess." More >
Rusin rolls: In his first home start since surrendering 12 hits and 11 runs to the Mets in just two innings on Aug. 22, Rusin returned to the form he's shown often this season at Coors Field. After Vogelsong's homer, the Giants mustered just five additional baserunners and put two men in scoring position. Rusin thrives when he pitches to contact, and he recorded 15 outs on ground balls.
"Chris has done a great job for us, and he's taken full advantage of the opportunity that he's gotten this year," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "His athleticism showed up again tonight -- fielding the position, swinging the bat, running the bases. He's got a great feel for pitching. He messes with hitters' timing by changing his delivery. He's just got a real good feel for getting outs. He commanded the ball really well tonight."
Into the frying pan: Rookie Cody Hall made his Major League debut, entering a 9-3 game at hitter-friendly Coors Field. He retired the first two batters in both innings but then got into two-out jams each time, yielding two runs in the eighth before manager Bruce Bochy pulled him.
"It didn't go the way I wanted it to, but at the same time, I executed some pitches," Hall said. "My mom, my dad, my brother and my girlfriend were actually sitting right behind the dugout, cheering really loud when I came off, even after the second inning, after the home run. They're still cheering, so proud. I think that was the best part, having them here. It's been a dream of mine since I was little, and they were all here for it. I wanted them to be here for it." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Arenado's homer gave him long balls in four straight games. He's the first Rockies player to do so since Josh Rutledge in 2012.
Giants: Right-handed rookie Chris Heston takes the mound on Friday at 5:40 p.m. PT after a rough start his last time out. Heston yielded five earned runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings on Sunday against the Cardinals. He had gone 13 days between his last two starts, including a stint when he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento (but didn't pitch) to make room on the roster for the newly acquired Marlon Byrd. He's pitched a total of 8 1/3 innings in two starts over the past 17 days and is not expected to offer a lot of length.
Rockies: Veteran left-hander Jorge De La Rosa will get the ball on Friday. He was nearly flawless in his last start, tossing six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh on Sunday. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. MT.
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