For Carlos Gonzalez, the timing, the sweet swing and the pop in his bat are back.
Gonzalez homered twice, tying the game each time, and Charlie Blackmon scored on a wild pitch in the ninth inning to lift the Colorado Rockies past the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Friday night.
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"It's fun to play baseball when the ball jumps off the bat that easy," said Gonzalez, who is in the midst of a monster month, batting .344 with six home runs. "I knew that time would give me the opportunity to become the player that I am, and of course, I'm healthy, and things are going the way I expected them to."
Joey Votto homered in the top of the ninth off closer John Axford (3-3) to tie the game at 5.
In the bottom of the inning, Blackmon laid down a one-out bunt single. He initially was called out trying to steal second. But a replay review showed second baseman Brandon Phillips, who fell as he caught catcher Tucker Barnhart's throw on a hop, didn't quite get the tag down before Blackmon slid into the bag. Colorado challenged and the call was reversed.
Blackmon moved to third on D.J. LeMahieu's groundout, and with Troy Tulowitzki at the plate, reliever Ryan Mattheus (1-2) bounced a wild pitch that Barnhart couldn't corral. Blackmon bolted home.
With the score tied at 3-all in the eighth, pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker hit an RBI double off reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
But the Rockies came right back in their half of the eighth. Gonzalez connected for his second homer of the game, this one off reliever J.J. Hoover, to even the score again. It was his first multihomer game of the season and the 11th of his career. Nolan Arenado followed with a triple off the right field wall and scored on Ben Paulsen's sacrifice fly.
"If a guy's on fire, he's on fire," Hoover said of Gonzalez. "Best thing you can do is make your pitch and give yourself the best chance to succeed. I thought I executed my pitch. He just won that battle."
Gonzalez said the win was something for the Rockies to build on after dropping four of the previous five games since the All Star break.
"I can't be more happy than I am right now because I feel like I'm giving this team a chance to win ball games and to help put runs on the board," Gonzalez said. "Hopefully, it stays that way. We still have a lot of games in front of us and I believe in this team and in every single player in this clubhouse."
Axford retired the first batter before Votto homered into the left-field bleachers. Axford, who blew a save for the third time this season, came back to fan Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce.
Held hitless by Anthony DeSclafani through the first four innings and trailing 3-0, the Rockies erupted for five hits in the fifth but got only two runs after starting pitcher Eddie Butler, trying to score from second on LeMahieu's long base hit to the right field wall, stumbled and fell twice rounding third and was tagged out as he neared home. With runners at second and third, Troy Tulowitzki popped out to end the inning.
Butler, who had a bunt single in the fifth for his first major league hit, allowed three runs on six hits over six innings.
Gonzalez also homered to lead off the bottom of the sixth, driving the first pitch from DeSclafani into the second deck above the right field wall to again tie the game.
LeMahieu singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 14 games. It is the longest active streak in the majors.
Rockies: Struggling reliever Rex Brothers was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for the reinstatement from the 15-day disabled list of OF Corey Dickerson (plantar fasciitis). Backup catcher Michael McKenry's availability has been limited in the last few days because of a fluid buildup in his right knee.
Reds: Since missing a start on May 24 because of a sore pitching elbow, RHP Johnny Cueto (6-6) has gone 3-2 with a 2.51 ERA.
Rockies: LHP Chris Rusin (3-3) will get a chance to build on his success at Coors Field, where he has gone 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA over four starts this season.