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Gonzalez leads Rockies past Astros

Image: Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (© Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports)
Carlos Gonzalez, who homered his last three ABs Wednesday, homers in his first AB Thursday.
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DENVER (AP)

Carlos Gonzalez is heating up right when the Colorado Rockies need him the most.

Gonzalez homered again to tie a major league record, Michael Cuddyer and Jordan Pacheco had three hits apiece and the Rockies beat the Houston Astros 11-5 on Thursday night.

Gonzalez's 14th homer made him the first Rockies player to go deep in four consecutive at-bats. It was the 22nd time a major league player has homered in four consecutive plate appearances and the 38th time for four straight official at-bats.

''I don't play for records. Records just happen,'' he said. ''I'm happy I'm part of a record, but at the same time I'm not thinking about anything else. The only record I look for is our team record.''

Gonzalez's big offensive night helped soften the blow of losing All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for at least two weeks. Tulowitzki was placed on the 15-day disabled list after he strained his groin during Wednesday's 13-5 victory.

Tulowitzki felt pain after running out of the batter's box when he grounded out to second during the Rockies' six-run sixth inning.

''This is the right thing to do, this is the right move to make,'' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ''I don't think it's anything structurally bad. However, he's very sore and very tender.''

Gonzalez, who homered in his last three at-bats Wednesday, hit a three-run shot in the first inning against Bud Norris. He came to the plate in the second with a chance at history, but he insisted that wasn't on his mind.

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''I hit three (Wednesday) and I wasn't even thinking about hitting a home run, so why would I think about hitting another one?'' Gonzalez said.

With Dexter Fowler on second, Norris went to 2-0 on Gonzalez before the Astros decided to intentionally walk him.

''I can promise you, I wasn't going to give him the take sign if he went to 3-0,'' Tracy said.

Gonzalez also doubled in the fourth, singled in the eighth, stole a base and scored three runs. The talented left fielder is 13 for 20 with six homers and 10 RBIs in his last five games.

''He's been an absolute terror,'' Norris said. ''Good luck trying to cool him off.''

Marco Scutaro also homered for the Rockies, who had 15 hits overall and pounded Houston pitchers in the four-game sweep. Colorado finished the series with 40 runs and 56 hits after scoring just 20 runs in its previous five home games.

Every position player had at least one hit Thursday.

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''CarGo's in another world, Cuddy puts in a good at-bat every time and drives somebody in,'' Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie said. ''One through eight is a tough at-bat right now.''

J.D. Martinez homered for the Astros, who have lost six straight.

The Rockies didn't need Tulowitzki in the series finale. They led 4-0 before Norris (5-2) recorded an out in the first inning.

Colorado led 5-0 after one and added four more in the second before Norris was replaced by Rhiner Cruz. Norris allowed seven hits in 1 2-3 innings and his ERA jumped from 3.34 to 4.52.

''Tough start. They've scored 15 runs in the first inning these four games,'' Houston manager Brad Mills said. ''That'll put you behind the 8-ball pretty early. That was troublesome.''

Martinez homered in the second to get Houston on the board. Juan Castro had an RBI triple, pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell doubled in a run and Jose Altuve added an RBI single in the Astros' three-run fourth.

Cuddyer had an RBI single in the fourth and Scutaro connected in the sixth, helping Guthrie (3-3) earn his first win since April 22. The right-hander, who was 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA since returning from a right shoulder strain, gave up five runs and 12 hits in seven innings.

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''I gave up a lot of hits, maybe a career high, but our bats have been really hot, gave us a nice cushion and continued to tack on, which is so big,'' Guthrie said. ''We outscored them tonight.''

NOTES: The Rockies activated INF Chris Nelson (wrist) from the 15-day DL to take Tulowitzki's place on the roster. ... Houston sent pitcher J.A. Happ home early Thursday in anticipation of his start against Cincinnati on Friday. ... The Rockies will start LHP Josh Outman (0-1) in Friday's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tagged: Astros, Rockies, Jeremy Guthrie, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris

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