Rockies 7, Reds 3
As happy as Todd Helton was to see a few of his hits head out of
the ballpark, he wouldn’t have minded waiting a few more weeks so
they would count.
Colorado’s all-time home run leader with 347 hit his first two
homers of the spring and Casey Blake added his first for the
Rockies, all off Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto, in a 7-3 win over
the Reds Sunday.
The 38-year-old Helton, who was hitting .375 with five doubles
in 24 spring at-bats coming in, pulled a solo shot to right field
in the second and added an opposite-field shot to left in the
fourth with the bases empty.
”To take all you’re working on in the cage and have it
translate into success in the game, it feels good,” said Helton,
who has hit only 22 home runs over the last two seasons, 14 last
year. ”But I need to save them; they are so few and far between
He has been bothered by periodic back trouble.
”(Saturday) I never really got loose – it’s just the way it
goes,” he said. ”But today, the back felt good and I felt like I
had a little whip in the bat.
His second homer, off a 2-0 changeup from Cueto, was especially
Hitting with power to left field ”and to be able to stay back
on the ball and stay through it is a big indicator,” he said.
Cueto, who had injury problems of his own this season, went six
innings and allowed five runs and six hits. The home runs aside, he
came away pleased.
”I was behind the count on Helton (both times), he just waited
for a good pitch to hit,” Cueto said. ”Other than that I feel
strong and healthy. I worked hard in the Dominican. I’ve worked
hard since we started training. I’m ready to start the
Reds manager Dusty Baker played his starting lineup the whole
way Sunday. Baker said he wanted his starters with the exception of
Ryan Ludwig, who served as the designated hitter in a minor league
game, to go the distance to help build their endurance.
”They will be off tomorrow and we have one more game for them
to go nine,” he said. ”We outhit them but they outhit us out of
the ballpark. Cueto looked good but he couldn’t get Helton out and
he left a pitch out over the plate to Blake.”
Blake’s two-run homer in the fifth was his first extra-base hit
of the spring. Signed as a free agent in January, Blake came into
the game hitting .118 (2 for 17) and missed a week with neck
stiffness after undergoing surgery last September.
Brandon Roberts added a two-run double for Colorado. Starter
Jhoulys Chacin allowed two runs over five innings.
Joey Votto, who had only five hits in 31 at-bats prior to
Sunday, had an RBI single in the third and added a single in the
fifth for the Reds. Chris Heisley had three of Cincinnati’s 11 hits
while Zack Cozart had two and Brandon Phillips added a double and a
NOTE: The infamous Salt River Fields bees – who delayed a
Rockies-Diamondbacks game earlier this spring – were back Sunday,
swarming behind home plate and settling into an aisle seat about 10
rows behind home plate. The game was not delayed, but with a
sellout crowd of 12,482 had to squeeze together when about 50 of
the best seats in the house were surrounded by caution tape. The
bees hung out, undisturbed until the park emptied.