DENVER -- The game was something out of his past, a throwback to the days when Todd Helton was in his slugging prime.
Ten days ago, Helton turned 40. He has made no official announcement about retirement but is likely in the waning days of his illustrious career with the Colorado Rockies. Helton had a memorable Friday night and reached the cusp of a milestone.
He belted two three-run homers as the Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-6. The home runs left Helton one hit shy of 2,500 for his career. He tied his career high with six RBIs, having driven in six runs on May 29, 2003, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Because he's winding down, Helton was able to savor rare and special game.
"Two home-run games, six RBI, that doesn't happen often nowadays," Helton said. "I've got to take it all in and enjoy it."
Helton hit a three-run homer in the five-run fourth when the Rockies opened the inning with six straight hits and drove Reds starter Bronson Arroyo from the game.
"He went down and got a 1-0 changeup," Arroyo said, "Todd's a smart hitter. He's a guy who's very difficult to beat the same way more than once. Even in his older years, he's still quick enough to get to the ball on the inner half sometimes, and you can see his wheels turning."
And Helton hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Logan Ondrusek. It was Helton's 28th career multi-home run game and first since April 26, 2011, at the Chicago Cubs.
"I've seen him do a lot of damage," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who also has managed the San Francisco Giants and Cubs during Helton's career. "He may not be as quick or this or that, back might be bothering him. He's a smart hitter, plus we made some mistakes, especially the last one. It was down the middle of the plate."
The two home runs gave Helton 11 for the season and 365 in his career dating to August 1997 and spent exclusively with the Rockies.
Helton received a standing ovation when he came up with one out and runners on second and third in the eighth against left-hander Zach Duke. The fans stayed on their feet during the entire at-bat and cheered as Helton walked back to the dugout after striking out on Duke's seventh pitch.
"It was really cool. I got chill bumps," Helton said. "The fans are great. But I was thinking three-run homer at that point. But it didn't work out. But that's alright; we can save it for another day."
Had he connected for a third three-run homer, it would have been hit No. 2,500, almost an afterthought to Helton.
"I was thinking homer," Helton said. "I was thinking three three-run homers in a game would have been really cool."
Helton's heroics were part of a 19-hit attack, one shy of Colorado's season-high 20 at Cincinnati on June 5.
The Reds made it interesting in the ninth when they scored three runs off Jeff Francis. They remained 3 1/2 games behind in the National League Central, where Pittsburgh moved into a first-place tie with St. Louis by beating the visiting Cardinals 5-0.
Jorge De La Rosa (15-6) gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings and moved one victory from matching his career high. He went 16-9 for the Rockies in 2009.
Arroyo (13-10) lasted 3 1/3 innings in his shortest start of the season. He was knocked out after 3 2/3 innings on Aug. 2 by the Cardinals but then gathered steam throughout the month.
Arroyo had gone 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four previous starts before stumbling again at Coors Field, where he is 1-3 with a 7.94 ERA.
Helton's three-run homer in the fourth was part of a barrage of six Colorado straight hits to start a five-run inning against Arroyo.
Troy Tulowitzki and Wilin Rosario singled ahead of Helton's homer. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon followed with singles and both scored on a double by Charlie Culberson, whose line drive was misjudged by left fielder Ryan Ludwick and sailed over his head. That gave the Rockies a 6-2 lead, and after De La Rosa's sacrifice, Alfredo Simon relieved Arroyo.
"That's kind of Bronson," Baker said. "When it happens, it happens quickly. Bronson being a contact kind of fly ball pitcher, this ballpark is not conducive to his style of pitching."
Ludwick homered with two out in the fifth to make it 6-3 and Jay Bruce followed with a double. But De La Rosa got Todd Frazier to ground to third.
The Rockies scored a run in the first when Corey Dickerson led off with a triple and DJ LeMahieu followed with a double. The Reds tied the score in the second on Ryan Hanigan's single after De La Rosa had given up a leadoff walk and a one-out single.
The Reds took a short-lived lead in the fourth when Frazier led off with a double and scored on Hanigan's one-out single.
De La Rosa escaped possible trouble in the third when he hit Brandon Phillips and walked Joey Votto to start the inning. But Ludwick grounded into a double play and Bruce struck out, stranding a runner at third.
NOTES: Arroyo's streak of not issuing a walk ended at 29 2/3 innings when he walked Tulowitzki in the first. It was the longest such streak by a Reds pitcher since Danny Graves (32 innings) in 2003. ... The Reds purchased the contract of Duke from Triple-A Louisville, optioned RHP Nick Christiani to Louisville and designated RHP Justin Freeman for assignment. Duke went 2-0 with two saves and a 1.30 ERA in 27 games for Louisville. ... When the roster can be expanded Sunday, the Reds announced they will recall IF Henry Rodriguez, RHP Curtis Partch and OF Derrick Robinson from Louisville. On Monday, they will return C Corky Miller (right quadriceps) from a rehab assignment and recall IF Neftali Soto from Lousville and select the contract of OF Billy Hamilton from Louisville. ... RHP Homer Bailey (173 strikeouts) and Mat Latos (170) are on pace to become the first Reds teammates to have at least 200 strikeouts in the same season. ... Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer was given a planned day off, which will give him two days off since the Rockies didn't play Thursday. Cuddyer went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in his past two games, including a career-high four on Wednesday. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez (right middle finger sprain) is scheduled to play seven innings on Saturday and full games on Sunday and Monday on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Colorado Springs at Fresno. Barring a setback, he will rejoin the Rockies on Tuesday or Wednesday. He last played on Aug. 4. ... RHP Rafael Betancourt, 38, has decided to have Tommy John surgery, likely in two or three weeks, so he can continue his career. He learned Tuesday that he had a torn ulnar collateral ligament and initially said he would try to rehab his right elbow through platelet-rich plasma treatment and avoid surgery.