DENVER (AP) – Every time Todd Helton stepped to the plate, the ovation from 43,736 fans got louder.
With Helton’s time as a Colorado Rockies nearing its the end, the Coors Field faithful showed their appreciation in his last Sunday home finale.
Helton had three hits and drove in four runs in a 13-9 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He raised his RBIs total to 1,402.
“I didn’t realize I was coming up on 1,400 RBIs. That was a surprise to me,” said Helton, who announced last week he will retire at the end of the season. “It’s just one of those days at the plate. I struck out in my first at-bat and thought I should have taken this day game off. The line is in sight so it was good to go out and play hard.”
He played hard to the end, delivering a two-run single in the ninth before Colorado’s rally fell short. The teams combined for 38 hits in a game that took 3 hours, 45 minutes.
Helton had two doubles to push his career total to 591. He also scored his 1,400th run and became the 46th player in major league history to have 1,400 runs and RBIs.
His three hits gave him 2,514 for his career and tied him with Buddy Bell for 95th.
“It was a great day. Good crowd got to see Todd do things he’s been doing for 17 seasons,” manager Walt Weiss said. “It’s great to see him go out with a bang, he’s playing really well and is swinging the bat really well on this homestand. I’m happy for him, I’m happy for our fans getting to see that.”
Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer was 3 for 5, raising his league-leading average to .334.
Matt Davidson of the Diamondbacks hit a three-run homer for the second straight day. Rookie Chris Owings, also recalled from Reno three weeks ago, doubled twice, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Diamondbacks, who led 7-1 in the third and 13-5 in the ninth.
Brad Ziegler got DJ LeMahieu to hit a game-ending groundout with two on.
Will Harris (4-1) got the final two outs of the fifth in relief of Patrick Corbin, who allowed four runs, 10 hits and two walks in 4 1-3 innings.
Colorado starter Juan Nicasio (8-9) struggled in his 30th start of the season. He gave up seven runs, seven hits and two walks in 2 1-3 innings, matching his shortest outing this season.
“I hung a couple of pitches and was missing with my fastball,” he said.
Helton has two home games left this week before Colorado wraps up the season with a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers. He heard the crowd before each at-bat, and the fans gave him a final standing ovation when he was forced out at second on Nolan Arenado’s ninth-inning grounder.
“It’s great. It’s cool walking to the plate,” Helton said.
Helton said he will not consider sitting out the final three games of the season and end his career at Coors Field.
“This is my job and my job wouldn’t be complete,” he said. “There will be some finality to the whole things when I’m done here. I signed up for 162 games, and that’s what I’ll go for.”
NOTES: Cuddyer was back in the Rockies lineup after missing the previous three games with a sore left wrist and forearm. … CF Dexter Fowler was rested by the Rockies, a day after aggravating a knee injury; manager Walt Weiss said there was a chance Fowler wouldn’t play again the rest of the way. … Charlie Blackmon has had multiple hits in seven of his last eight games. … The Rockies have an off day Monday before closing their home schedule with a two-game interleague series against the Boston Red Sox.
– By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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