Todd Helton is slowly rounding into form.
Helton has not hit less than .315 in his last eight seasons with Colorado (37-37) coming into 2006. His season was slowed, though, by an intestinal infection that landed him on the disabled list and briefly hospitalized him early in the season.
He has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, batting .434 (23-for-53) with three homers, 16 RBI and 15 runs in that span. Helton had three hits, including a homer, and three runs in the Rockies’ 11-6 win on Saturday.
“I feel all right,” Helton said. “I’m giving myself a chance at the plate, which is something new.”
Helton’s batting average dipped to season-low .267 on June 11, but has since increased 43 points to .310.
“He’s seeing the ball well and just looks really comfortable,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s getting the kind of results that we need for him to get.”
Helton will try to continue his hot hitting when he faces Vicente Padilla (6-4, 4.78 ERA) in the series finale. Padilla did not get a decision Tuesday in the Rangers’ 6-5 loss to San Diego and his streak of 15 straight scoreless innings ended when he allowed a solo homer to the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez leading off the second inning.
Padilla is 1-0 with a 5.29 ERA in eight games, including two starts, against Colorado. Texas trails first-place Oakland by one-half game in the AL West.
Byung-Hyun Kim (4-4, 4.84) will take the mound for Colorado. He overcame some mild food poisoning to register his best start of the season Monday against Oakland, combining with three relievers on a seven-hitter in the Rockies’ 7-0 win.
“I ate some bad food. My temperature is OK, but my tongue is numb. I feel weak right now. I didn’t throw up, but I was shaky. It started after I ate lunch,” said Kim, who scattered four hits, walked three and struck out five through six innings.
Kim has never started against the Rangers, and has not faced them since 2003. In six career relief appearances, he has allowed seven runs and six walks over 5 2-3 innings.
Texas shortstop Michael Young also will try to extend his interleague hitting streak to 15 games. He went 1-for-5 in Saturday’s loss, and is hitting .452 (28-for-62) during the run that against NL opponents that dates back to June 24, 2005.
Young is hitting .360 in his career against NL foes—the highest interleague batting average for a player with at least 300 plate appearances.