Rockies 8, Reds 5
The 1997 NL MVP was traded to St. Louis during Colorado’s 8-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
“In one sense you are bummed by the loss of a player the caliber of Larry Walker,” Rockies pitcher Steve Reed said. “In another sense you are happy to see him going to a team that can win a championship.”
But after the game, the Rockies were talking about Walker.
“I was shocked and surprised. He has been here a long time,” Helton said. “I have never played a game without him here, and he is the best Rockies player ever.”
Colorado acquired minor league pitcher Jason Burch and two players to be named for Walker. The five-time All-Star and three-time batting champion had been with the Rockies since 1995. He had a no-trade clause in his contract but waived it to approve the deal.
“It was one of those awkward moments,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He came in the dugout and shook everybody’s hand, and it was a very delicate and sensitive moment.
“It’s a man who is probably the most identifiable figure in a Rockies uniform, and a man who in his prime has more talent and skill than possibly anyone that has ever worn the uniform.”
Colorado agreed to pay $7.5 million of Walker’s 2005 salary as part of the deal.
As for those left behind, Estes (12-4) allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He is in the midst of his best season since going 15-6 for San Francisco in 2000.
“The guys were very resilient tonight,” Hurdle said. “Estes made it happen by stopping them right there and not giving up another run until the seventh inning. Offensively, Helton got us right back into it with the two runs, and we scratched and we did some things well.”
Helton hit his 26th homer and walked twice, pinch-hitter Todd Greene homered and Wilson went 2-for-4 with a double.
“You have to tip your hat to Estes because he made adjustments,” Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said. “He got a lot of groundballs and made us chase a lot of sinkers after the first inning.”
Dunn and Pena hit back-to-back homers in a four-run first inning for the Reds that included Sean Casey’s RBI single past a drawn-in infield.
Helton hit a two-run homer in the bottom half, Charles Johnson had an RBI grounder in the second and Colorado went ahead 6-4 in the fifth. Aaron Miles scored the tying run when catcher Jason LaRue threw the ball into center field as Clayton stole second, and Vinny Castilla and Wilson followed with RBI doubles.
“I couldn’t locate my fastball,” Claussen said. “They showed patience with those pitches and waited for something better over the plate.”
Lopez homered in the seventh, but Wilson hit an RBI grounder in the bottom half.
Reds RHP Jose Acevedo will be skipped in the rotation and was sent to the bullpen. … Rockies LHP Joe Kennedy is to return from the DL and start Tuesday at Philadelphia. … Castilla’s double was his 34th, tying his high for a season.
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