Helton is clutch
DENVER (AP) That's the Todd Helton of old.
Usually that term's been used in front of his name during his summer of struggles at the plate.
Helton capped his first four-hit game in more than a year with a tiebreaking RBI single off lefty Jonny Venters in the eighth inning Monday night that lifted the Colorado Rockies to a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves.
"I don't know if it's satisfaction or surprise," Helton said of his first four-hit night since July 16, 2009, against San Diego.
Helton dribbled a single over second base to score Carlos Gonzalez from second and make a winner of reliever Rafael Betancourt (4-1), who gave up the tying run in the top of the eighth.
Huston Street got the final three outs for his 11th save in 15 chances.
Helton is starting to break out of a season-long slump this month he's hitting .308 (16-for-52) since coming off the DL on Aug. 3, and Monday night he raised his season batting average 10 points to .257.
Two pitches before his game-winner, he was knocked down by a 97 mph fastball from Venters that glanced off his bat. Venters then buckled Helton's knees with an inside curveball before leaving another heater out over the plate.
"It woke me up a little bit, right at my head, sinking in," Helton said of the fastball that whizzed by his face. "It was almost a career changer."
And the fastball he hit up the middle was just as nasty.
"The guy's throwing 97 and it's sinking all over the place," Helton said. "I knew he was going to throw me a fastball. It was just a matter if I could hit it or not. There wasn't much I could do with that, just put it in play and hopefully find a hole."
Jason Hammel was in line for his first win at Coors Field since July 10 and Tim Hudson was on the hook for his first loss since July 17 until Betancourt gave up a two-out RBI single to Alex Gonzalez at tied it at 4.
Cubs 9, Nationals 1
Mike Quade got his first major league win, and so did Casey Coleman.
Coleman, a rookie right-hander, took a one-hitter into the seventh inning, and interim manager Quade had a successful debut. Coleman (1-1) also collected his first major league hit, a single in the fifth that produced his first RBI.
Cardinals 10, Pirates 2
Albert Pujols hit a three-run home run one pitch after injured Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf was pulled during a four-run St. Louis first inning.
Kyle Lohse (2-5), making his second start since spending nearly three months on the disabled list, pitched five scoreless innings before giving up Garrett Jones' two-run homer in the sixth. Lohse was lifted one out later, but still won for the first time since May 17.
Giants 11, Reds 2
Matt Cain ended a three-start winless stretch after being staked to an early cushion, and Andres Torres hit a two-run homer.
Aubrey Huff added a solo homer leading off the eighth. Huff, Pat Burrell and Freddy Sanchez all doubled in runs in the Giants' five-run first to knock Edinson Volquez out after 2-3 of an inning for the shortest start of his career.
Rangers 4, Twins 0
Joe Mauer's clean single to center field with one out in the ninth inning broke up the no-hit bid of four Texas pitchers.
Starter Rich Harden was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day and he went 6 2-3 innings before being lifted after throwing 111 pitches. Matt Harrison got the final out of the seventh. Darren O'Day pitched the eighth and All-Star closer Neftali Feliz got one in the ninth before Mauer singled.
Rays 4, Angels 3
B.J. Upton homered on the first pitch of the game from former Tampa Bay teammate Scott Kazmir and doubled home another run to help the Rays move into a first-place tie with New York.
James Shields (12-11) struck out 10 and walked one in his 144th career start, tying Kazmir for most in club history.
Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2
Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer, then added a tiebreaking solo drive in the eighth inning for his majors-leading 40th of the season.
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow allowed two runs, four hits and struck out 12 in six innings.
Red Sox 6, Mariners 3
Marco Scutaro's second two-run single gave Boston the lead for good and John Lackey pitched eight strong innings.
Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew both had two singles for the Red Sox, who won their third straight.
Tigers 12, Royals 3
Ryan Raburn drove in three runs and scored twice to help Detroit continue a strong homestand.
Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge also drove in three runs for the Tigers, who are 4-0 since returning home and have outscored the opposition 31-6.