Rockies 4, Royals 3(10)

Todd Helton is looking more like the hitter who owns a career

.324 batting average. Last year’s subpar effort appears to be an


Helton collected two hits and drove in a run, helping the

Colorado Rockies rally for a 4-3 victory in 10 innings over the

Kansas City Royals on Friday.

He has reached base safely in each of his last five at-bats,

including four straight hits.

”I have some things I am working on,” Helton said. ”Keeping a

good posture when I’m hitting and basically getting at-bats. I’m

feeling comfortable with my swing.”

Helton raised his spring average to .417, and has three doubles

and driven in three runs.

”I hope I don’t hit a wall,” Helton said. ”Right now I’m

feeling good. Mentally is just as important as how I feel

physically. It feels good just moving around. I’m in a better place

physically. I can move around and go get balls without any


Helton battled through leg and back issues most of last season,

when he hit .256 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs. He appears

healthy and is swinging freely.

”I’m very intrigued by what I’ve seen this spring from Todd

Helton,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ”I see the hand speed

and the ball coming off the bat the way we used to see it.”

Seth Smith homered for the Rockies, who won their third

straight, and Jason Hammel allowed one run on one hit over four

innings. He walked one and struck out two.

”I’m enjoying being able to work on stuff,” Hammel said.

”Mechanically the things I’ve been working on have been firm and

pat. The next time out I’m going out there and attacking hitters

more like I would in a real game; thinking baseball and putting it

into action.”

Alex Gordon and Mike Aviles each hit a home run for the Royals,

who lost for the first time in four games. Royals starter Luke

Hochevar gave up two runs on four hits in 3 2-3 innings with three

strikeouts and a walk.

”He’s really starting to come around,” Royals manager Ned Yost

said of Aviles. ”You can see the quality at-bats. He’s just

starting to hit better in the last five or six days. It was a

simple timing issue. The more you get at-bats, the better your


Consecutive two-out errors by Royals third baseman Mike

Moustakas allowed Tom Field to score the winning run on Chris

Nelson’s mishandled grounder. Melky Cabrera also singled and scored

a run for the Royals.

”Those things happen,” Yost said. ”That’s why we have spring

training; to work the kinks out.”

Ben Paulsen tripled to tie the game in the ninth.

Notes: Hochevar allowed his first walk in six spring innings.

… Rockies INF Eric Young, Jr. confirmed that he expected to start

Saturday’s first game of a day-night doubleheader. C Wilin Rosario

is also scheduled to make his spring debut. … There was an

11-minute delay in the bottom of the seventh inning when home plate

umpire Mike Muchlinski, who had the flu, left the game due to

dehydration. ”He’s a gamer. He kept trying to hang in there,”

Yost said. … Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa will not make his

scheduled start Sunday with tightness in his back. RHP Juan Nicasio

will get the start and RHP Cory Riordan is also scheduled to pitch.

… The Rockies gave C Chad Moeller his unconditional release. …

RHP Aaron Cook broke bones in the ring finger of his right hand

after catching it in a house door.