DENVER – Carlos Gonzalez preserved the Colorado Rockies' 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers with both his glove and his reputation.
Rafael Furcal lined a fastball to left that looked like it was going for extra bases but Gonzalez made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch, and the runners stayed put at first and second base.
"That's why he's my favorite player, first of all," Troy Tulowitzki said. "A guy that can change games on both ends is pretty special. Big play. Really, the defining play for me in that game and the reason he's one of the best."
Furcal at first thought he had a huge hit but quickly realized who was tracking it down.
"I said to myself, 'I put a good swing on it. I think I got that ball over his head,'" Furcal recounted. "I said to myself, 'He's one of the only guys in the league that can catch that ball right there.'"
"It was hit pretty hard and we were playing pretty deep, too," center fielder Dexter Fowler said.
Gonzalez, who said, "I feel like another center fielder in left field," made his presence felt in the ninth before Furcal's drive.
Rod Barajas and Jamey Carroll had identical shots down the left field line with nobody out. Barajas didn't dare try for second on his leadoff single, and Carroll couldn't stretch his hit into a double behind the slow-footed Barajas.
"I don't think he necessarily held him to a single on that play; I think his reputation held him to a single," Tulowitzki said of Barajas' leadoff base hit. "You know out of the box, he has a good arm. You don't want to get thrown out by him."
Barajas rounded second on Carroll's hit and decided again not to go for the extra base and test Gonzalez's arm.
After Cargo chased down Furcal's shot, Huston Street struck out pinch-hitter Hector Gimenez and Andre Ethier for his third save. But Rockies manager Jim Tracy suggested it was Cargo's glove that saved the day, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly agreed.
"I thought that ball was over his head for sure," Mattingly said.
He said he never considered pinch-running for Barajas in the ninth.
"Not really there, not down by two. I don't feel like it does anything for us. He pretty much can't tag, you're still going to play that half way," Mattingly said. "Jamie was the key guy, the guy at first who can run. If the ball's over his head we have a chance to score both guys."
With Gonzalez in hot pursuit, the runners stayed put.
"There's a reason he's got gold on his glove," Street said.
Tulowitzki and Todd Helton homered for Colorado, which completed a two-game sweep of their nemesis.
Jason Hammel (1-0) benefited from the long balls and Gonzalez's defense and picked up the win despite allowing two home runs in five innings and falling behind 4-2 in the third.
Helton's three-run homer off Chad Billingsley (1-1) gave Colorado a 5-4 lead in the third. Tulowitzki went deep for the second straight day, sending Blake Hawksworth's offering into the left-field bleachers an inning later for a two-run shot that made it 7-4.
After Rockies lefty Franklin Morales pitched two scoreless innings of relief, Matt Lindstrom came on and allowed one run in the eighth.
Hammel was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Gonzalez doubled home a run and came around to score on Jose Lopez's single. But he surrendered Loney's solo homer in the third and Barajas' shot leading off the third, when the Dodgers took the lead.
Furcal walked and Casey Blake, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, tripled and scored on Ethier's single for a 4-2 lead.
Billingsley lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Hammel allowed four runs on six hits in five innings.
The Rockies left afterward for an eight-game trip to Pittsburgh and New York, eager to improve on last year's awful 31-50 record away from Coors Field.
"That was two things we concentrated on that gave us trouble last year, the Dodgers and road games," Tulowitzki said. "We took care of the Dodgers. Now, if we can get some road games out of the way, we're out on the right foot."
NOTES: Earlier in the day, the Rockies placed ace Ubaldo Jimenez on the 15-day DL to give the cracked cuticle on his pitching thumb a chance to heal. RHP Greg Reynolds was called up by the Rockies to take Jimenez's roster spot and will start Saturday in Pittsburgh. ... Blake had gone on the DL after injuring his back March 12 during spring training.