Sidewinders pitcher finishes strong versus Portland for 1st victory
Tucson Sidewinders right-hander Enrique Gonzalez can now put a “W” next to his name.
After yielding two runs to open the game, Gonzalez hurled six shutout innings and earned his first victory of the season in a 4-3 win over Portland on Sunday before 2,288 spectators at Tucson Electric Park.
April hadn’t been kind to Gonzalez. His first two starts resulted in no-decisions, which were followed by two losses.
Gonzalez was well on his way to losing his third game Sunday before heeding pitching coach Mike Parrott’s advice to be more aggressive.
“The first inning . . . I wanted to throw the perfect pitch,” Gonzalez said. “After the first inning I was more in focus. I was throwing the ball down in the zone and on both sides of the plate.”
Gonzalez (1-2) retired the last six batters in order, striking out the last three.
“He was more aggressive,” Sidewinders manager Bill Plummer said. “I thought he came after hitters and made a much better fastball. . . . He went right after hitters.”
Gonzalez threw 92 pitches, and 63 were for strikes.
“I’ve been working on my mechanics to keep the ball down and throw hard,” he said.
Gonzalez started last season with Tucson and made his major league debut with the Diamondbacks on May 28 at Cincinnati. He went on to compile a 3-7 record and 5.67 ERA.
He lost his bid for the fifth starter’s spot in spring training.
Gonzalez, 24, is no longer bitter about being sent back.
“The last few times, a couple of innings and walks would throw me. This time I made a comeback,” Gonzalez said. “I have a chance to go back to the big leagues again.”