Helton Delivers Go-Ahead Run in Eighth to Beat Braves, 5-4


The Braves fought back with two runs late but Todd Helton broke their backs in the eighth as the Rockies beat the Braves in the series opener, 5-4.

The first four innings were all Rockies. Carlos Gonzalez doubled in a run in the third and Ian Stewart hit a two-run home run in the fourth for a three-run lead. Martin Prado put the Braves on the board in the fifth with a two-run home run, but the Rockies answered back in the sixth with an RBI single by Helton.

Rick Ankiel hit a solo homer in the seventh to cut the lead to one, and after putting two on with two outs, Rafael Betancourt gave up an RBI double to Alex Gonzalez in the eighth to tie it at four. Jonny Venters gave up a leadoff single to Gonzalez in the eighth, and he stole second, though he looked out on the replay. After Troy Tulowitzki walked, Helton and Venters battled until Helton delivered a grounder up the middle to score Gonzalez and give the Rockies the eventual winning run.

The Braves recorded 11 hits, three of which were for extra bases, but only one walk. Prado went 2-4 with a homer and two RBIs. Ankiel and Gonzalez picked up an RBI each, both on extra base hits. Jason Heyward went 3-5 with three singles and at one point stretched his streak to ten consecutive at bats in which he reached base. Omar Infante added two singles but swung early in the count a lot. Derrek Lee went 0-4 with three strikeouts.

Tim Hudson wasn’t his usual self tonight, constantly fighting to keep the ball down and not hitting his spots. He gave up four extra base hits and seven total hits in six innings, allowing four runs. He only walked one and struck out five, and he threw strikes, but he didn’t miss bats and Rockies hitters were on his sinker. Eric O’Flaherty pitched a scoreless seventh. Venters allowed the run in the eighth on two hits and a walk but didn’t pitch that bad. It’s his first loss of the season.

The Braves failed to take advantage of a Phillies loss, so the lead remains 2.5. Derek Lowe faces Jorge de la Rosa Tuesday night.