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Helton collects 2,500th hit in Rockies' win

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- It took eight plate appearances, but the wait ended Sunday for Todd Helton.

The 40-year-old first baseman collected his 2,500th career hit, and the Colorado Rockies rolled to a 7-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Colorado won two of three in the weekend series.

Thanks to some stellar relief pitching by Adam Ottavino and Josh Outman plus one big inning, the Rockies survived the early loss of starter Tyler Chatwood.

The anticipation was building for Helton to reach the 2,500-hit plateau. After getting to 2,499 with his second homer of the game Friday night, Helton went hitless in seven consecutive at-bats followed by an intentional walk in the fifth inning Sunday that caused the crowd to boo loudly.

In the seventh, Helton lined a hit off Curtis Partch, whom the Reds recalled Sunday, and just beat the throw of left fielder Chris Heisey for a double. Helton became the 96th player in major league history to reach 2,500 hits. The double was his 584th, enabling Helton to pass Hall of Famer Robin Yount and move into 17th place all-time.

"I was a little relieved," Helton said. "Every at-bat felt like it was getting longer and longer."

Helton's double came on Partch's full-count, 96 mph fastball, the seventh pitch of the at-bat. The announced crowd of 30,594, which gave Helton a standing ovation each time he came to the plate, gave him a longer one this time, and Helton twice doffed his batting helmet, turning in each direction to acknowledge the fans.

"Fans were great, teammates were great," Helton said. "It was mostly relief, but I was excited. It's a big number. I'm very proud of it; I'm very proud of every one of them. Sitting here, 40 years old and going out and playing baseball for a living, I don't take that lightly. I'm very humble and appreciative for every day I get to go out there and put on the uniform."

The victory gave the Rockies three consecutive series wins for the second time this season; the other time was April 12-21.

Chatwood came off the disabled list after recovering from right elbow inflammation, and he made his first start for the Rockies since July 31. However, he took a line drive hit by pitcher Mike Leake off his right thumb in the third. Chatwood stayed in the game for three batters but was ineffective, throwing 10 of 14 pitches for balls before he left. X-rays were negative.

"It's sore, and it started swelling up a little bit and I kind of lost a little bit of feeling in it," Chatwood said. "It's frustrating. You wait a month to start, and that happens. I had no feeling in my thumb."

Ottavino (1-2) pitched three scoreless innings for the third time this season and earned his first win since Aug. 19, 2012. The three innings tied his season high.

"Ottavino shut us down after we knocked the starting pitcher out," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Ottavino gave them some valuable innings there."

Outman stranded runners on first and third when he entered the game in the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh.

Michael Cuddyer went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and hit his 18th homer in the seventh. DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado drove in two runs apiece for the Rockies, and Arenado hit his 10th home run.

Leake (11-6) continued his recent struggles. He lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing six runs and leaving in the midst of the four-run outburst that put the Rockies ahead 6-2. In his past four starts, Leake is 1-1 with a 7.89 ERA, following a stretch in which he gave up three or fewer runs in 12 of 15 starts from May 15-Aug. 4.

"I still feel like I'm making pitches," Leake said. "Just two or three mistakes per game kind of got me. Maybe (like) in the past, when I was missing kind off the plate instead of on the plate, so that could probably be a part of it."

Heisey had his first career four-hit game, and Shin-Soo Choo added three hits, including a two-run homer. Devin Mesoraco and Jack Hannahan each collected two hits for Cincinnati.

The Reds scored single runs in the eighth and ninth off Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers, respectively, before the Rockies celebrated their victory and Helton's milestone.

"A line hugger that barely stayed fair, on a 3-2 count," he said. "That's what's kept me in the league this long. That's my bread and butter, to go the other way, especially with two strikes. To do it on the 2,500th is very fitting."

NOTES: Heisey came out of the game in the eighth with a left hamstring cramp that occurred while he was running to second to break up a double play. ... Rockies 2B Josh Rutledge was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs and began his third stint this season with Colorado. He pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded out. In 38 games at Colorado Springs, Rutledge hit .371 with four homers and 24 RBIs. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez had no issues with his sprained right middle finger while batting three times Saturday for Colorado Springs on a rehab assignment. He is expected to play in Triple-A through Monday before rejoining the major league team. ... Mesoraco batted fifth for the first time this season and the second time in his career. ... On Monday, the Reds will add INF Neftali Soto and OF Billy Hamilton from Triple-A Louisville and reinstate C Corky Miller (right quadriceps contusion) from the 15-day disabled list.

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