Carlos Gonzalez strikes without warning.
He did it again Tuesday night in the Rockies' 8-3 victory over the Washington Nationals at Coors Field.
The all-star outfielder struck out the first two times he faced Nationals starter Dan Haren — and didn't look good doing it. But really, CarGo was simply sizing up his prey.
In the fifth inning, Tyler Colvin, making his first major-league start of the season since getting called up from Triple-A, tied the game 2-2 with a two-run homer off Haren. The moonshot landed just inside the foul pole in right field.
Up the plate stepped Gonzalez. He scalded Haren's 1-1, 88 mph cutter into the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer and a 5-2 Rockies lead. It was Gonzalez's team-best 18th home run of the season, and his 51 RBIs are tied with teammate Troy Tulowitzki for third-most in the National League.
"It's been a battle for me the last few days, trying to find my swing," said Gonzalez, who struck out four times Tuesday night. "But I just needed that one good swing, and I got a three-run homer to help us win the game."
History suggested something like that was coming. Entering the game, Gonzalez had swatted three homers in 18 at-bats against Haren.
Colvin then made his return ultra-satisfying with a two-run homer to left in the eighth, providing the Rockies with a comfy cushion.
"It's not like this is my first call-up," Colvin said. "Obviously it feels good, but I know I can contribute to this team."
The Rockies' fifth-inning outburst made a winner out of starter Jhoulys Chacin. In what has been typical this season, the right-hander suffered through one bad inning. This time it was the second. He gave up a leadoff walk to Ian Desmond, a single to Anthony Rendon and a two-run double to Denard Span.