<
>

Helton goes 4-for-5, drives in career-high six

5/29/2003

DENVER (AP) -- Todd Helton is breaking out of the longest
homerless streak of his major league career in a big way.

Helton had the second three-homer game in the major leagues and
had a career-high six RBI Thursday to lead the Colorado Rockies to
their fifth straight win, 12-5 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Before connecting last Friday, Helton had been homerless in 89
at-bats since April 25.

"It just happens sometimes," he said. "You go through a
streak where you're not driving the ball well and you do a little
work, and the next thing you know you start reaping the rewards."

Helton hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Odalis Perez
(4-3), a solo shot in the fourth against Perez and another two-run
homer in the eighth off Eric Gagne. Helton, who has 10 homers this
season, also singled in a run in the third.

Helton, who also homered three times at Coors Field on May 1,
2000, had his 22nd multihomer game, his first this season. He
credited hitting coach Duane Espy for working on his swing.

"Hitting for me is definitely a feel thing," Helton said. "If
you feel good, if you feel confident up at the plate, you have
about a 100 percent better chance of doing something good."

Ronnie Belliard had a career-high five hits and Jay Payton had
three RBI for the Rockies, who swept the Dodgers in Denver for the
first time. Colorado, which has swept three series in Dodger
Stadium, is on its longest winning streak since taking five in a
row last June 20-24. The Rockies outhit Los Angeles 16-14.

Scott Elarton (1-1), making his second start after missing last
season because of shoulder surgery, allowed three runs and eight
hits in five innings. Elarton blanked the Dodgers over his final
three innings for his first victory since May 6, 2001, when he was
with Houston.

"Ronnie got on base five times, and it's easy to score some
runs when your leadoff guy gets on," Helton said. "And Scott held
them to minimal runs. I'm so proud of him. I was here with him this
offseason and got to see how hard he worked to come back."

Colorado (27-27) reached the .500 mark for the first time since
May 6. The Rockies' 6-1 homestand tied for the third-best in club
history.

"It was a very good homestand, but we need to start playing
better on the road if we want to contend," Helton said.

Perez gave up a career-high nine runs and 11 hits in three-plus
innings.

"This is not the best ballpark in the world to be out there
without your best stuff," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.

Los Angeles starters, who came to Coors Field having gone 10-0
with a 1.62 ERA in their previous 11 games, compiled a 14.72 ERA in
the three-game series.

Gagne had not allowed a home run since Troy O'Leary hit a
tiebreaking shot for Montreal last Aug. 13.

"The key to this series was that they got to our starting
pitching before we could get to our bullpen in an efficient
manner," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.

Los Angeles went up 2-0 in the first on Fred McGriff's RBI
single and Jolbert Cabrera's sacrifice fly. The Rockies tied it in
their half on Helton's first homer.

Alex Cora's run-scoring single gave Los Angeles a 3-2 lead in
the second, but the Rockies scored four runs in the third on
Helton's RBI single, Chris Stynes' two-run single and Bobby
Estalella's RBI double off the left-field wall.

Payton's two-run homer and Helton's solo shot chased Perez in
the fourth and put the Rockies ahead 9-3.

Belliard singled in the fifth inning for his fourth hit and
scored on Payton's triple over Cabrera in center field.

The Dodgers' Bubba Crosby, in his first major league at-bat, had
an RBI single off Todd Jones in the seventh.

Game notes
A re-examination of Dodgers OF Brian Jordan's left hand
showed no break, but the hand was heavily wrapped Thursday. Jordan
was hit by a pitch from Shawn Chacon Wednesday night ... The
Dodgers purchased the contract of OF Bubba Crosby from Triple-A Las
Vegas and optioned LHP Steve Colyer to Las Vegas. ... RHP Darren
Dreifort's sore right knee will keep him from making another start
until June 7. ... In the third, Rockies SS Jose Hernandez made a
diving stop in the hole on the grass and threw out Perez from his
knees. ... RF Gabe Kapler made a diving catch in short right off
David Ross in the seventh. ... Perez's previous career high for
runs allowed was eight against the Yankees on July 17, 1999, when
he was with Atlanta.

Comments