|L.A. Dodgers (79-71)||3||0||1||0||0||3||0||1||0||8||13||0|
|Colorado (78-72) «||3||0||0||0||2||0||0||2||2||9||15||0|
DENVER -- Todd Helton's first 300 homers were nice. No. 301 topped them all.
The Colorado Rockies' star, who finally knows what a pennant race feels like, came through with the most meaningful swing of his stellar career and one of the biggest homers in franchise history Tuesday night.
The Rockies were down to their last strike when Helton hit a no-doubt, two-run homer off Los Angeles closer Takashi Saito in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Colorado a stunning 9-8 victory and a doubleheader sweep of the dejected Dodgers.
"I don't know when I'll come off of that high. Just to be in that moment was unbelievable," said Helton, who sprinted around third base like a little kid being called in for dinner and dived into the pile of jubilant teammates awaiting him at home plate.
"It's one of my favorite moments ever just watching him come around third," teammate Matt Holliday said.
The Rockies won the opener 3-1 behind Jeff Francis, who struck out a career-high 10 batters in his 16th win. The teams played a split doubleheader to make up for a rainout on July 27 at Coors Field, and both clubs looked at it as crucial to their hopes of catching San Diego in the NL wild-card chase. The Dodgers began the day three games behind the Padres and are now 4½ back, same as Colorado.
"That was a tough one for us," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "I think our playoff chances went out today in Coors Field."
Saito (1-1) had converted 16 straight saves and 39 of 42 chances this season, including all five against the Rockies, who hadn't gotten a hit off him in six combined innings until Holliday punched a single to right with two outs to bring up Helton.
The slugger who has toiled for more than a decade in Denver with nary a sniff of a playoff chase until this year, followed with his fifth career game-ending homer, sending one of Saito's nasty sliders 418 feet into the seats in right-center.
"I went with my strength," Saito said through a translator. "I'm discouraged. I'm disappointed."
Helton has been waiting for a moment like this all his life.
"Oh yeah, just to be in a situation where a game matters," he said. "When you hit a home run and the game doesn't matter, you sort of run the bases and give your teammates high-fives. But when you're in a situation like that, why do you want to try to keep your emotions in? I mean, it's an amazing win for us."
His teammates enjoyed it, too.
"That's as good as it gets for me," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I was happy for Todd, I was happy for us. I've watched Todd play a long time. I'm proud of him. I'm happy for him. He's found another gear this month."
Helton is hitting .423 with a .538 on-base percentage, two homers and 10 RBI in 15 games in September.
Little just looked away when he saw Helton get hold of Saito's last pitch.
"I didn't watch it," he said. "I didn't have to. I knew it was leaving the park."
And taking a little bit more of the Dodgers' playoff hopes with it.
"We'll have to win out and get a lot of help to get in," Little lamented.
Wells looked more like the erratic 44-year-old left-hander that San Diego gave up on than the savvy September starter he was in his first four starts with Los Angeles. He labored through a 31-pitch first inning in which the Rockies batted around and erased a 3-0 deficit with three run-scoring doubles.
Wells also allowed Holliday's 33rd homer, a two-run shot that gave Colorado a 5-4 lead in the fifth. It was his 200th hit this season and the 100th homer of his career.
Little said he's sticking to his plan to pitch Wells on three days' rest at Arizona on Saturday even though the big lefty allowed five earned runs and eight hits over five innings.
|Todd Helton stuns the Dodgers with a walk-off, two-run shot off stud closer Takashi Saito. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Juan Pierre, CF||5||2||3||0||0||0||2||.293|
|Tony Abreu, 2B||5||1||2||3||0||0||1||.267|
|Matt Kemp, RF||5||0||2||1||0||1||2||.341|
|Luis Gonzalez, LF||5||1||2||2||0||0||1||.280|
|Takashi Saito, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Nomar Garciaparra, 3B||5||0||1||0||0||0||3||.280|
|James Loney, 1B||3||1||1||1||1||0||1||.326|
|Ramon Martinez, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||3||.194|
|Mike Lieberthal, C||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||.230|
|Russell Martin, C||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||.296|
|David Wells, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.143|
|a- Delwyn Young, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.412|
|D.J. Houlton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Scott Proctor, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Joe Beimel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Mark Sweeney, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.252|
|Jonathan Broxton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Andre Ethier, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.287|
|a-flied out for Wells in the 6th|
|b-flied out for Beimel in the 8th|
|2B - Juan Pierre (23, Julio), Matt Kemp (9, Redman)|
|3B - Tony Abreu (1, Affeldt)|
|HR - Luis Gonzalez (15, Redman), James Loney (12, Herges), Russell Martin (18, Julio)|
|RBI - Tony Abreu 3 (13), Matt Kemp (39), Luis Gonzalez 2 (66), James Loney (55), Russell Martin (85)|
|2-OUT RBI - Tony Abreu 2 (6)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Lieberthal-Abreu, Abreu-Martinez-Loney|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|D.J. Houlton (H,2)||1||2||0||0||0||1||0||3.80|
|Scott Proctor (H,16)||0.1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.54|
|Joe Beimel (H,14)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.98|
|Jonathan Broxton (H,32)||1||2||2||2||0||2||1||2.77|
|Takashi Saito (BS,4; L,1-1)||0.2||2||2||2||0||1||1||1.49|
|IBB - Iannetta by David Wells|
|Pitches-Strikes - David Wells 72-46, D.J. Houlton 19-13, Scott Proctor 10-6, Joe Beimel 6-3, Jonathan Broxton 21-16, Takashi Saito 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Wells 7-6, Joe Beimel 1-0, Jonathan Broxton 1-0, Takashi Saito 1-0|
|Batters Faced - David Wells 23, D.J. Houlton 5, Scott Proctor 2, Joe Beimel 1, Jonathan Broxton 5, Takashi Saito 4|
|Jamey Carroll, 2B||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.221|
|a- Joe Koshansky, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.143|
|Omar Quintanilla, 2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.234|
|Troy Tulowitzki, SS||5||2||2||1||0||2||1||.295|
|Matt Holliday, LF||5||2||4||3||0||1||1||.338|
|Todd Helton, 1B||5||2||1||2||0||0||1||.314|
|Garrett Atkins, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.292|
|Ryan Spilborghs, CF-RF||4||1||2||3||0||0||0||.300|
|Jeff Baker, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.230|
|b- Cory Sullivan, PH-CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.319|
|Chris Iannetta, C||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||.213|
|c- Brad Hawpe, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.276|
|Ryan Speier, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mark Redman, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||3||.000|
|Matt Herges, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jeremy Affeldt, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|d- Ian Stewart, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Jorge Julio, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|e- Yorvit Torrealba, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.258|
|a-fouled out for Carroll in the 6th|
|b-grounded out for Baker in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Iannetta in the 8th|
|d-singled for Affeldt in the 6th|
|e-struck out for Julio in the 8th|
|2B - Troy Tulowitzki (28, Wells), Matt Holliday (48, Wells), Ryan Spilborghs (12, Wells)|
|HR - Matt Holliday (33, Wells), Todd Helton (15, Saito), Ryan Spilborghs (11, Broxton)|
|RBI - Troy Tulowitzki (87), Matt Holliday 3 (126), Todd Helton 2 (82), Ryan Spilborghs 3 (49)|
|2-OUT RBI - Todd Helton 2 (44)|
|CS - Troy Tulowitzki (6, 2nd base by Wells/Lieberthal)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Tulowitzki-Quintanilla-Helton|
|Matt Herges (BS,2)||0||2||3||3||1||0||1||3.46|
|Ryan Speier (W,1-1)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.95|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mark Redman 71-48, Matt Herges 15-6, Jeremy Affeldt 16-10, Jorge Julio 29-17, Ryan Speier 8-4|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Redman 7-7, Jorge Julio 2-3, Ryan Speier 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Mark Redman 23, Matt Herges 3, Jeremy Affeldt 4, Jorge Julio 8, Ryan Speier 3|
|Attendance - 23271|
|Game Time - 2:57|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Brian Knight|