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SF@COL: CarGo belts a three-run shot in the sixth

DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez lifted a three-run homer into the home bullpen in right field in the sixth inning and lifted weeks of frustration from the Rockies' shoulders Monday night.

The homer off Giants ace Tim Lincecum was the difference in the Rockies' 7-4 victory before a raucous crowd at Coors Field.

A Rockies team that had begun the season 11-2 entered Monday in a free fall, measured by a 3-10 record since May 1 and a 9-10 home record for the season. So often in recent weeks, they'd follow any forward step with a pratfall.

Monday was shaping up similarly. Troy Tulowtizki's two-run single in the fifth inning ended Lincecum's scoreless streak at 21 innings, but an Andres Torres leadoff shot and a Nate Schierholtz two-run homer gave the Giants a 4-2 lead.

This time, it was different. Gonzalez's homer capped a five-run inning, drove Lincecum from the mound and put the game in the hands of a Rockies bullpen that, at least until recently, keeps leads secure.

"We were just waiting for that -- it's about time," said Gonzalez, who has three of his five homers during the current homestand -- which the Rockies can end 4-4 if they win Tuesday afternoon, with struggling ace Ubaldo Jimenez (0-3) starting.

It wasn't as if the Rockies had reason to be so confident.

They were leading the National League West when the then last-place Padres came to town. A Rockies offense that had been more miss than hit all season began to click, but the team dropped two of three -- one when their best relievers participated in blowing a six-run lead.

To remind the Rockies they weren't that bad, manager Jim Tracy called a usually rare team meeting before Monday's game.

It was the second such meeting this season. Frankly, it covered the same subject matter as the first. But what impressed players was Tracy's delivery. Often such repeated information is delivered with panic or exasperation. That wasn't the case Monday.

"Sometimes it's the strength and power of saying stuff out loud and the willingness to admit it," said closer Huston Street, who earned his 13th save in 14 chances by completing the ninth in nine pitches, all strikes, with a finishing strikeout of Aaron Rowand.

"Maybe we weren't completely connected," Street said. "You reassert that to each other. Then it shows up out there on the field. A week ago, we don't win that game. I'm not saying that because we had the meeting, but a week ago, we don't win that, but tonight you saw who we really are."

It was a counterpunch for the Rockies, who had dropped five of the first six meetings with the Giants, who hold a half-game lead over Colorado in the division. The Rockies were swept at AT&T Park from May 5-7 but all were low-scoring games.

"The key hits we got tonight we weren't able to get in San Francisco," Tracy said.

"To put a comeback on one of the best pitchers in the game, obviously, is more than just a win," Tulowitzki said. "They had been beating us up all year. It was a big answer for us."

Right-hander Clayton Mortensen (1-0) has become a nice answer to injuries to the pitching staff. Mortensen, who began the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs and is in the rotation because of Esmil Rogers' back strain, went six innings, struck out four and gave up four runs on seven hits. He also began the two-run fifth by drawing a walk from Lincecum.

Mortensen faced the Giants for the third time. The first time, he went six scoreless relief innings but it didn't matter because Lincecum dominated in an 8-1 Giants victory on April 18.

"It doesn't really matter to me who's on the mound or not," said Mortensen, who has a 2.01 ERA in five appearances, including two starts -- both against the Giants. "Beating these guys is a huge thing for us, and getting a win is a big thing."

Mortensen benefited from three of the season-high four double plays the Rockies' defense executed.

After Tulowitzki's two-run single in the fifth, the inning fizzled when Gonzalez was thrown out at third on a called double-steal.

The Rockies' Seth Smith opened the bottom of the sixth with his fourth homer of the season. After a Lincecum throwing error prevented a potential double play, Dexter Fowler added a one-out RBI single. The Rockies threatened to blow the inning when Jose Morales couldn't score from second -- and couldn't have returned to third because of the incoming Fowler -- on Jonathan Herrera's single.

But instead of seeing the inning, and potentially the game, become a missed opportunity, the Rockies watched in delight as Gonzalez homered. It ended the Rockies' club-record streak of 12 homers with the bases empty. The previous record was 11, set in 1994.

Lincecum left, having given up seven runs -- three earned, the others courtesy of his error -- and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. But he regretted the pitch to Gonzalez.

"It was just bad location, a changeup up," he said. "In this kind of place, to that kind of hitter, [it was] not a really good pitch."

With two on and two out in the eighth, Rockies reliever Matt Lindstrom replaced Rafael Betancourt and fanned Pat Burrell to end the threat. Comments