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Must C Clutch: Helton's walk-off shot caps comeback

DENVER -- Todd Helton brought a happy ending to a long, rainy night Saturday that seemed destined to end in a dismal finish for the Rockies.

Helton hit a two-run, walk-off homer with two outs off of D-backs closer J.J. Putz that gave the Rockies an 8-7 win. It was Helton's first homer of the season, and gave the Rockies a victory in a game where they blew a four-run lead after rain halted play for one hour and 11 minutes after four innings.

When play resumed, it didn't take long for the rain to return or for the Rockies to lose the lead, as the D-backs scored in four straight innings. But the Rockies, who led 5-1 after the fourth, scored a run in the eighth on a double by Eric Young Jr. to cut the D-Backs lead to 7-6, and set the stage for Helton's theatrics.

"That is just one terrific at-bat in some really, really tough conditions," manager Jim Tracy said of Helton, who also doubled home the winning run in the eighth inning on Friday when the Rockies won, 7-6.

The rain delay ended the night for starters Jhoulys Chacin of the Rockies and Josh Collmenter of the D-backs. Arizona was trying to ride Wade Miley's three scoreless innings in relief of Collmenter to victory, and were able to turn to Putz, who had converted 28 straight saves dating back to July 27, including two this season.

Putz opened the ninth by hitting Marco Scutaro with a pitch, but got pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to pop out and struck out Troy Tulowitzki. Despite the rain, Helton said he had no trouble seeing at the plate, and hit a 1-1 fastball that was up and in. The ball went high down the right-field line and became Helton's seventh walk-off homer, and first since June 20, 2009, against the Pirates.

"I was just trying to get a grip on the bat at that point. It was raining pretty hard," Helton said. "I knew it wasn't going foul. I just didn't know if it had enough distance. I didn't think I hit it out. I thought I hit it too high, but I'll take it."

Putz said, "We just tried to sneak one in and I got it in, but it was up. He's been doing that a long time, and he put a good swing on it, and it got out."

Starter Jhoulys Chacin was trying to rebound from a bad outing in Monday's home opener, when he threw 90 pitches in four innings against the Giants and allowed four runs. He gave up singles to the first two D-backs batters he faced and allowed a run in the first. Chacin, who has been searching for consistent fastball command, threw 64 pitches before rain halted play and allowed three walks and four hits with five strikeouts.

"His command was better tonight," Tracy said, "but it can still be better, because there were some 2-0 counts. There were some walks."

After Chacin, the Rockies used five relievers, with Tyler Chatwood working the final two innings and winning his first game with the Rockies. Josh Roenicke, who followed Chacin to the mound, gave up a three-run homer to Miguel Montero with two outs in the fifth.

Tulowitzki, a Gold Glove winner each of the past two seasons, made two throwing errors in the sixth when John McDonald doubled home what became an unearned run. The D-backs took a 6-5 lead in the seventh when pinch hitter Paul Goldschmidt hit a sacrifice fly to right. Michael Cuddyer made a good throw, but it was slightly to the right of catcher Ramon Hernandez and Justin Upton was able to slide home safely.

The Rockies scored three runs in the second when Tyler Colvin, starting in left field in place of ailing Carlos Gonzalez (strep throat) hit a two-run homer, and Hernandez followed with a homer. Cuddyer singled home a run in the third, and the Rockies added another in the fourth when Jordan Pacheco tripled and scored on a ground out.

The Rockies got 2 2/3 innings from starter Juan Nicasio on Friday. So the last thing Tracy wanted was a four-inning outing from Chacin. That forced him to turn to his overworked bullpen, and used Roenicke, Matt Reynolds and Matt Belisle to get through the sixth. At that point, Tracy said he could see the teams were in "a back and forth" game, so he "pushed everybody back" and turned to left-hander Rex Brothers in the seventh, one inning earlier than usual.

Brothers gave up the run on Goldschmidt's sacrifice fly and gave way to Chatwood, whom McDonald greeted with a double in the eighth and scored to make it 7-5. But Chatwood held the D-backs scoreless in the ninth for the first time since the fourth.

"That's a great win," Tracy said. "I've seen some signs of that from this club. They have a moxie about them." Comments