Closing in on a career milestone, the 13-year veteran looks to help the Rockies avoid a third straight loss as they begin a 10-game road trip Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Helton had two hits and an RBI during a 5-3 loss to Houston on Thursday. The five-time All-Star and Rockies’ all-time hits leader is three hits shy of 2,000 for a career spent entirely with Colorado.
It’s taken him a little longer to reach that mark as back problems limited him to 83 games last season. After batting a career-low .264 in 2008, Helton is hitting .351 with four homers and 21 RBIs.
“It’s good when you see him start finding the barrel and driving the ball,” manager Clint Hurdle told the Rockies’ official Web site.
There’s a good chance Helton - 6 for 13 with four RBIs in his last four games - will reach that milestone in this series.
He’s batting .345 on the road, and .362 with 16 home runs and 58 RBIs in 75 games against Pittsburgh. Helton’s average against the Pirates is his third-highest versus NL teams.
Though Helton is hitting well, the Rockies have been inconsistent at the plate - batting .257 as a team and among the NL’s worst with a .236 road average.
Colorado is 6-10 away from home and after this three-game set, head to Atlanta for four before finishing with an interleague series in Detroit.
“You’re going to get knocked down in this game,” Hurdle said. “Your ability to get back up, recover, is what’s critical. We’ve got to find a way to get up and get going.”
Colorado was 5-2 against Pittsburgh last season with both losses at PNC Park. Despite taking two of three from St. Louis this week, the Pirates (14-20) have lost 13 of their last 16 games.
Maholm is 0-1 with a 7.13 ERA in his last three starts. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 10-1 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday.
“I pretty much hit my spots and had a lot of jam jobs and flairs that fell in,” he told the Pirates official Web site. “It happens. I understand that. I still feel good.”
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA against the Rockies.
Freddy Sanchez(notes) had three hits in the Pirates’ 5-1 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday. The second baseman is batting .353 (12 for 34) with four doubles and a homer during an eight-game hitting streak.
He’s 4 for 5 with an RBI against Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa(notes) (0-3, 3.53). The left-hander allowed two runs and four hits while striking out a career-high 12 in eight innings of a 3-1 loss to Florida on Saturday.
“It’s the way it’s been for this team this year. I pitched well, but it’s a loss,” said De La Rosa, 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA as a starter versus Pittsburgh.