San Diego (46-40) at Colorado (30-54)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 8, 2005
  • TV: Ch4, FSRM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Todd Helton has finally emerged from his season-long slump.

“That’s history,” said the five-time All-Star. “I feel good at the plate. I feel like I have a chance when I step into the box now, where earlier in the year I didn’t feel good when I stepped in.”

Helton looks to continue his offensive surge when the last-place Colorado Rockies host the NL West-leading San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game series at Coors Field.

Helton has steadily been working his way out of perhaps the worst slump of his career. He belted two homers to rally Colorado past Los Angeles 8-5 on Thursday.

His first home run gave him 259 for his career, breaking the franchise record he shared with Larry Walker, now with St. Louis. Helton then hit a tiebreaking three-run shot for his first multihomer game of the season.

“I care more about what it did to help us win this game,” Helton said of his eighth and ninth homers of the season. “That’s more important than breaking a record that someone else is going to break someday.”

The first baseman has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games, batting .407 (24-for-59) in that span. He has lifted his average to .281, still 58 points below his career average, but about 20 points better than a month ago.

Mike DeJean earned the win with a scoreless seventh for Colorado, which is 2-2 on its seven-game homestand. The Rockies’ only All-Star, closer Brian Fuentes, earned his 11th save in 13 tries and capped Colorado’s biggest comeback victory of the season.

“They don’t stop playing,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “They haven’t stopped playing all year. Some days they play better than others, but they play the game, and they play the game until it’s over.”

The Padres snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over Houston on Thursday.

Ramon Hernandez capped a six-run fifth inning with a two-run single in his first game back from the disabled list. Hernandez had been out with a sprained left wrist since June 18.

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T. Stauffer NYM vs. J. Wright Tex
3-6 Record 8-16
5.33 ERA 5.46
49 K 101
29 BB 81
1.49 WHIP 1.65