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Rockies score six in first, cruise vs. Rangers

DENVER (AP) -- Over the last few weeks, Colorado manager Clint
Hurdle has been bombarded with questions about what's wrong with
Todd Helton.

On June 11, the Rockies first baseman was batting an
uncharacteristic .267. Hurdle wasn't the least bit worried, though.

"Just let him hit," Hurdle said. "Let him keep playing."

Hurdle feels vindicated now.

"He's getting back to the Todd we've all come to know and
appreciate," he said.

Helton hit his seventh homer of the season, added a pair of
singles and scored three runs as Colorado beat the Texas Rangers
11-6 on Saturday night.

The former All-Star has his average up to .310, the highest it's
been since May 13.

"I feel all right," Helton said of his swing. "I'm giving
myself a chance at the plate, which is something new."

But Helton didn't want to talk about his newfound comfort level
at the plate nearly as much as the play of center fielder Choo
Freeman.

"His swing looks a million times better than it ever has,"
Helton said.

Freeman hit his second career home run during a six-run first
inning. His two-out, three-run shot to left field was his first
homer since June 10, 2004, against the New York Yankees.

Freeman is rewarding the confidence that Hurdle has placed in
him. Before Saturday's game, Hurdle said he's going to give Freeman
a chance to be a regular outfielder. Freeman has started three
straight games and is 5-for-12 with a home run, triple, double and
two singles.

"He's going to get more opportunities," Hurdle said.

Freeman, a native Texan, had relatives in town for the series
against the Rangers. However, his mom was troubled by what she was
hearing in the stands.

"She said, 'Why are they booing you?" Freeman said with a
grin. "I told her, 'They're not. They're saying my name.'

"I'm just glad I could make an impact on the game."

Colorado scored six runs in the first and then a thunderstorm
rolled in and caused a 48-minute delay.

"It's tough," Gary Matthews Jr. said of the first-inning
deficit.

Robinson Tejeda (1-3), freshly promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma
City, had a rough outing, allowing six runs on four hits in the
first inning and then another run in the second. He was lifted for
pinch-hitter Jason Botts in the top of the fourth. It's the third
time in five starts Tejeda failed to make it past the fourth.

"He struggled," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's had the
opportunity before and hasn't been able to do it that consistently
for us. He wasn't able to take advantage of the opportunity. You
only get so many of those."

The Rockies sent nine batters to the plate in the first. Clint
Barmes had a one-out single and then Helton and Matt Holliday drew
walks. Garrett Atkins' broken-bat single to left scored Barmes and
Helton, and Brad Hawpe doubled home Holliday. Freeman followed with
his three-run shot.

Josh Fogg (5-5) did enough to get the win, giving up a
season-high 11 hits and four earned runs in five innings.

"I thought that was about enough for that particular point in
time, he gave us five," Hurdle said on why he pulled Fogg.
"That's a good offensive club."

Texas proved that in the fifth. The Rangers, down 9-1, scored
four runs. Mark DeRosa led off with his third single of the game
and Michael Young followed with another single. It was the 14th
straight interleague game with a hit for Young, the all-time
interleague batting leader (.360) of players with a minimum of 300
plate appearances.

Mark Teixeira's double scored both DeRosa and Young. Hank
Blalock delivered an RBI single and scored on an error by Atkins,
who mishandled Rod Barajas' shot down the line.

"We did our best to battle back," said Matthews, who had a
solo homer in the third, his eighth of the season.

Teixeira also hit a solo homer, his eighth, off Jose Mesa in the
ninth -- the first run Mesa has allowed in his last 13 appearances,
spanning 11 2-3 innings. He hadn't given up a run at home in 16
innings, which was a new franchise record.

Holliday had three hits, including a double, to give him an
NL-leading 99 hits this season. Holliday also had two RBI. He has
41 extra base hits this season.

"Everybody in the lineup contributed," Hurdle said. "We swung
the bats well."

As for Helton, Hurdle knew he'd come back around.

"He's seeing the ball well and just looks really comfortable,"
Hurdle said. "He's getting the kind of results that we need for
him to get."

Game notes
An MRI on 2B Kaz Matsui's back revealed a bulging disc. He
is officially on the minor-league disabled list for Triple-A
Colorado Springs. ... LHP Fabio Castro was designated for
assignment to make room for Tejeda on the roster. ... The Rockies
and Rangers both had 14 hits on Saturday. ... Barajas had two
singles and a double. Teixeira has homered in back-to-back games
for the first time this season.