With five hits, CarGo plays big hand in win

With five hits, CarGo plays big hand in win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nothing could cool Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on Friday night. The ice that was wrapped around Gonzalez's left hand had begun to melt and drip on the visiting clubhouse floor at AT&T Park.

Gonzalez left Sunday's game and had appeared only on defense in two of the last three games because of a sprained left hand. But Gonzalez returned hot -- with five hits in the Rockies' 8-6 victory over the Giants on Friday night.

"It seemed everything I made contact with was actually a hit," said Gonzalez, whose night included a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh in a difficult left-on-left matchup with Giants reliever Javier Lopez and a soft-but-effective triple to left in the ninth.

CarGo's triple in the 9th

Hits have been uncharacteristically elusive for Gonzalez, who has been mostly healthy but has a .253 batting average. He still remains a huge part of the offense. Even though manager Walt Weiss had no way of knowing how the hand would hold up, he batted Gonzalez cleanup between Troy Tulowitzki, who has a 10-game hit streak, and the unconsciously effective Nolan Arenado, who has six homers in the last five games.

Gonzalez and Arenado also helped set up a key at-bat for Ben Paulsen, who took advantage. After Gonzalez doubled, Lopez intentionally walked Arenado, and Paulsen followed with a two-run single for a 6-3 lead in the seventh.

"We had some big-time performances," Weiss said. "Nolan is really locked in, CarGo coming back getting five hits, Benny Paulsen and Tulo, it's a good performance offensively."

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The left hand sprain, which is in the joint between the wrist and where the ring finger meets the wrist, is different from the finger, wrist and thumb issues that have plagued Gonzalez as far back as 2010. Weiss has said several times that Gonzalez's hand issues must be monitored carefully. But despite the treatment the hand needed, Gonzalez was ready to keep swinging even after Friday's game. Maybe the ice froze away the pain.

Or maybe when the game starts and the hits fall, it doesn't hurt at all.

"When you take a lot of swings in batting practice, that's when you get tired," Gonzalez said. "I've just got to be smart about it, let it heal more, don't take too many swings [in batting practice] and try to save the bullet for the game.

"In the game, you're not taking more than four or five swings."

He made them count Friday.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.