Rockies 2, Orioles 1
Helton hit his first homer since May 14, and Jason Jennings scattered six hits over seven innings to lead the Rockies to their fifth road victory of the season, 2-1 over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
Former Orioles farmhand Eddy Garabito and Jorge Piedra each had three hits for the Rockies, who had lost six straight away games. Colorado was a major league worst 4-26 on the road before using a gritty performance by Jennings to end Baltimore’s three-game winning streak.
“You can count our road wins on one hand,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We get excited when we win. We don’t do it enough.”
This one wasn’t easy.
The Orioles had a baserunner in each of the first six innings but couldn’t score. AL batting leader Brian Roberts twice left the bases loaded, Sammy Sosa struck out three times and Baltimore ended up stranding 11 runners.
Jennings (4-7) struck out seven and walked five to earn his third win in four decisions since May 21.
“He pitched like a grown man today,” Hurdle said. “He went after people. He didn’t back down.”
“It would have been a heartbreaker to lose this game,” Jennings said. “It would have been a tough one to swallow.”
Helton gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in the sixth, driving a 3-2 pitch from Daniel Cabrera (5-6) over the outstretched arm of center fielder David Newhan and into the Baltimore bullpen. His first home run in 99 at-bats ended a career-tying run of 28 games without a homer.
Asked if he knew it was gone when he hit it, Helton said tersely, “I haven’t hit one in so long, there is no way I can know off the bat in a ballpark I’ve never played in.”
“When you have the bases loaded, one out and Roberts up, you like your chances,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “The kid’s come through for us an awful lot this year.”
Colorado made it 2-0 in the eighth when Garabito doubled and scored on a single by Garrett Atkins.
Cabrera allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings.
“I thought he threw the ball very well,” Mazzilli said. “You pitch a game like that, more often than not you’re going to win.”
The Orioles stranded a runner at second base in the first inning, then loaded the bases with two outs in the second before Jennings retired Roberts on a grounder.
In the fifth, Roberts hit a leadoff single and went to second on a one-out single by Melvin Mora. Miguel Tejada followed with a short fly ball and Sosa struck out for the third time, this time drawing a smattering of jeers from a portion of the 49,004 in attendance.
“I’ve thrown him a lot of sliders the last three years. I’m going to stay with it until he adjusts,” Jennings said. “He’s a good fastball hitter. I didn’t want to give him a chance in a close game to tie it up or take the lead when they had guys on base. You’ve got to respect the power he has.”
The Rockies placed RHP Blaine Neal on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation and recalled INF Tim Olson from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … Tejada played in his 822nd consecutive game, tying Gus Suhr, who played for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the 1930s, for ninth on the all-time list. … The sixth-largest regular season crowd in the 14-year history of Camden Yards put the Orioles over the 1 million mark in attendance in their 35th home date.