Gonzalez, Rockies overpower Cardinals

Sunday, August 14, 2011
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki forces out Cardinals baserunner Rafael Furcal during the third inning Saturday in St. Louis. (SARAH CONARD ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis left-hander Jaime Garcia would be happy if he never saw the Colorado Rockies again.

Garcia gave up five runs on six hits Saturday as the visiting Rockies rolled to a 6-1 win.

Garcia surrendered a career-high 11 earned runs in a 15-4 loss at Colorado on May 28. He is 0-2 with a 17.28 ERA in two starts against Colorado this season.

"It wasn't a very good one," Garcia said about his effort Saturday.

He lasted just five innings and fell to 6-3 with a 2.06 ERA at home where he has been strong this season.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia delivers during the first inning Saturday in St. Louis. (SARAH CONARD ~ Associated Press)

"If I knew there was something wrong, obviously I'd be working on it," Garcia said. "I'm just trying to go out there and do my job."

Garcia is winless in his last four starts. His last victory came July 23 against Pittsburgh.

"It's really important to get him going again," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.

Carlos Gonzalez hit a three-run homer, and Jason Hammel pitched into the seventh inning to lead the Rockies.

Gonzalez also doubled in a run in the ninth to help the Rockies snap a three-game slide. Colorado had dropped its last five games in St. Louis by a combined 22-3 score.

St. Louis fell five games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Gonzalez went deep in the third inning, sending an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 18th homer. He also became the first lefty batter to connect against Garcia since Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard accomplished the feat July 21, 2010.

"I'm getting better, but I still have a lot to work on," Gonzalez said. "I've only been playing for a week. I'm really excited because things are going to get better."

Gonzalez, who also had a run-scoring double in the ninth, went on the disabled list with a strained right wrist July 22.

Colorado manager Jim Tracy believes Gonzalez is close to 100 percent.

"He's looking like the Carlos Gonzalez that we've been accustomed to seeing around here," Tracy said.

Gonzalez also homered in Friday night's 6-1 loss and has three homers in his last six games. He is 7 for 34 with three homers and nine RBIs since returning from the DL.

Hammel (7-11) allowed one run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings to earn his first win since July 29 at San Diego.

"The big difference today was I had fastball command on both sides of the plate," Hammel said. "I did some things on the side in between my previous starts. I know that I can dominate. This is a step in the right direction."

Hammel has been plagued by inconsistency this season after getting off to a 5-1 start.

"It was as aggressive a performance as he's had all year," Tracy said. "He did a great job of establishing his fastball for strikes."

St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday, who went 0 for 3, agreed.

"He had great stuff and he didn't make a lot of mistakes," Holliday said.

David Freese drove in Holliday with a fielder's choice and Yadier Molina singled to put runners on first and second before Hammel was replaced by Josh Roenicke in the seventh.

Third baseman Chris Nelson then started an inning-ending double play with a diving catch on Ryan Theriot's line drive.

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