Helton, Gonzalez power Rockies past Dodgers, 5-3
Helton homered for the second straight night, Jhoulys Chacin(notes) pitched seven solid innings, Carlos Gonzalez(notes) also went deep and the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Saturday night.
Helton, mired in a season-long slump, has broken out on this six-game homestand and raised his average 13 points to .260. He started with a four-hit game Monday against Atlanta and he hit homers in consecutive games for the first time in nearly a year.
Helton was humble when discussing his recent success, but he acknowledged the Rockies could benefit from him hitting in September.
“I’d sure like to think so,” he said. “Hitting fifth or sixth, I’ve got to drive in some runs. Got to be ready to hit.”
He picked a good time to hit his sixth home run of the season, driving a 1-1 pitch by Chad Billingsly into the right-field seats to make it 3-1. It was the first homer off Billingsly since May 31 against Arizona, a span of 92 innings.
“That ball Todd hit, it was where I wanted to throw it—up and in,” Billingsly said. “I put the pitch where I wanted to. You’ve just got to tip your hat to him.”
Helton isn’t the only Colorado player hitting well. Gonzalez also tripled and scored two runs for the Rockies, who kept pace with Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race. The Rockies are four back of the Phillies, who beat San Diego 3-1.
Colorado took the lead for good in the fourth when Gonzalez led off with a triple and Tulowitzki singled. Helton walked and one out later Melvin Mora(notes) singled up the middle to drive in Tulowitzki to make it 2-1.
“I was battling,” Billingsly said. “I didn’t have my great stuff. I didn’t have very good fastball location tonight and the off-speed wasn’t there.”
Billingsly gave up three runs on five hits and walked five in six innings.
Gonzalez hit his 27th home run, a two-run shot off reliever Ronald Bellisario, in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-1.
Bellisario hit Tulowitzki on the left leg two pitches later and was ejected by home plate umpire Marty Foster. It was the second batter Bellisario hit in four he faced in the game.
“He certainly wasn’t throwing at anybody on purpose,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “The explanation was after the home run, they were a little more sensitive to that kind of stuff.”
That was all the run support Chacin (7-9) needed to win his second straight start. He allowed one run and four hits, walked four and struck out seven. He struck out the last batter he faced, pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez(notes), to end the seventh.
“Another terrific performance by that young kid,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Ramirez was making his first plate appearance in three games and the first since the Chicago White Sox were awarded a waiver claim on the outfielder. The White Sox and Dodgers have until 1:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to complete a trade, which Ramirez would have to approve. The Dodgers also could let him go—with his consent—and the White Sox would simply assume his salary. Or, Los Angeles could keep Ramirez and try to make a run at the playoffs with him.
Notes: Rockies RHP Aaron Cook(notes) (turf toe) was scheduled for a rehab start for Double-A Tulsa on Saturday night. Cook is scheduled to be Colorado’s starter in Thursday’s makeup game against Philadelphia. … Rockies 3B Ian Stewart(notes) was scratched from Saturday’s lineup with an abdominal injury. He is day to day.
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