Helton, CarGo lead Rox to win in Game 1
DENVER -- Todd Helton delivered his second game-turning hit in as many games, a two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, to power the Rockies past the Mets, 8-4, in the first game of a doubleheader played in bitter temperatures at Coors Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Helton, whose pinch-hit homer on Sunday gave the Rockies a 2-1 victory over the Padres, lashed his single off losing pitcher Dillon Gee (0-3) with the bases loaded for a 5-4 lead that put the Rockies on their way to their fourth straight victory. It came one batter after Gee had yielded a run on a bases-loaded walk to Michael Cuddyer.
The game was rescheduled from Monday because of snow. Game-time temperature on Tuesday was 39 degrees, tied for 10th lowest in club history. The temperature on the scoreboard read 34 by the middle innings. The 36-degree temp in the second game was fourth-lowest in club history.
But the 39-year-old Helton wasn't too cold to make a difference with his soft single off the glove of Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy for the key hit in the first game.
"As you get older, it doesn't help," Helton said. "I used to love these games when I was younger, not so much anymore. To me, gripping the bat just doesn't feel he same. To me, that's a tough part, but to me, fielding is tougher, just moving around, bending over.
"I wasn't trying to do too much in that situation. I would have liked to have hit a line drive, but my prior two at-bats dictated that I couldn't let it fly."
But there were hot hitters. The Mets' David Wright homered twice off winning pitcher Juan Nicasio (2-0), the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez tripled and homered, and Eric Young Jr. had three hits, including a double and a triple, each of which drove in a run.
On a day when gripping the bat was a challenge, the fifth inning was an exercise in patient plate approaches that culminated in a controlled, clutch swing from Helton for a soft single that put the Rockies in the lead. Young Jr. singled with one out, and with two down, Gonzalez walked and Troy Tulowitzki was hit on the left elbow to set up Cuddyer and Helton.
"Every time you go through our lineup, it should be a chore for the other team," Helton said. "It's been that way so far. I'd rather be pitching than hitting in this stuff, but to bang out some hits and get on right there was an especially good job."
Wright, who was 3-for-4, has 10 home runs in his career at Coors Field. Nicasio labored through a 35-pitch first inning, but made it through five innings with 97 pitches, four runs, six hits and five strikeouts.
"It wasn't his sharpest game, but he kept us in the game and gave us a shot," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
It was the first game since Saturday for the Mets, who had games Sunday and Monday postponed due to bad weather.
"I could just tell, two days off really hurt us today," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "As much as the guys wanted to play, the energy level wasn't there. And the weather didn't help."
Gonzalez tripled in the first inning, then launched his fourth home run of the season into the upper deck in right field off Gee in the third.
The Rockies' Chris Nelson added two hits. After his sixth-inning double, Young Jr. singled him home. Young added an RBI triple in a two-run eighth.
Rockies middle reliever Edgmer Escalona struck out one in two perfect innings, Wilton Lopez gave up two hits but threw a scoreless eighth and Rafael Betancourt worked a scoreless ninth.