Posted September 19, 2013 on AP on Fox
Mlb_may_10_c9f4
Todd Helton thought for sure this was his moment, another memorable swing to add to his legacy. Bases loaded. Two outs. Last inning. Over his 17-year career, the Colorado Rockies first baseman has thrived in these types of situations. Just not this time. Helton struck out on a fastball from St. Louis closer Edward Mujica to end the game as the Cardinals held off the Rockies 4-3 on Wednesday night to expand their lead in the NL Central. ''The moment was great,'' said Helton, who will retire at the end of the season. ''You couldn't have asked for a better moment. You could've asked for a lot better result.'' The fans were on their feet in anticipation of something big happening from Helton. Even Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright thought things were setting up too perfectly for it to be anything but the stage for Helton's heroics. ''When we load the bases there, as much faith as I have in Mujica, you hear, `Now coming up to the plate, Todd Helton,' and you go, `Oh, man,''' Wainwright said. ''It's too perfect. But (Mujica) pitched him perfect. That last pitch, it was like a thing of art.'' In this case, that art was a high fastball. ''I was betting on Todd right there, to deliver the big hit like he has for years,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ''He made a good pitch there.'' Wainwright (17-9) gave up two runs in the first and then found his groove to earn his 17th win, second-most in the NL this season. He went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs to help the Cardinals stretch their lead to two games over Pittsburgh after the Pirates lost 3-2 loss to San Diego. St. Louis reduced its magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three with 10 games to play. ''We're playing good ball at the right time,'' Wainwright said. Tyler Chatwood (7-5) allowed four runs in six innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Chatwood is rounding back into form after missing nearly a month with an inflamed right elbow. The hard-throwing Wainwright allowed 10 hits and struck out eight before running into a jam with two on and two outs in the eighth. Reliever Trevor Rosenthal got Charlie Blackmon to ground out to end the threat. Mujica pitched his way out of a bases loaded mess in ninth for his 37th save in 40 chances. He set Helton up with a few splitters before throwing the high heat. Michael Cuddyer remains the NL batting leader, keeping his average at .331 after going 1 for 3 on Wednesday. Cuddyer left the game shortly after making an inning-ending diving catch in right field in the sixth. The team announced he was day-to-day with a bruised right forearm. St. Louis solved Chatwood in the third, stringing together four straight hits to tie the game at 2. Wainwright had an RBI double and Matt Carpenter followed with a run-scoring single. Carpenter has 67 RBIs from the leadoff spot, the most by a Cardinals player since Lou Brock had 76 in 1967. The Cardinals took the lead for good in the fourth when Yadier Molina led off the inning with a double and was brought home by Wainwright's single. He has five RBIs this season. ''I always brag that the starting pitchers are the best athletes on the field,'' Wainwright said. ''Usually, we don't back that talk up. Tonight, it was a good opportunity to back that up.'' The Rockies began the game with four straight hits off Wainwright, including a two-run single by Troy Tulowitzki. That was certainly more offense than the Rockies had off Wainwright in May, when the Cardinals ace took a no-hitter into the eighth and finished with a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory. Wainwright escaped more trouble in the first by getting Helton to hit into a 3-6-1 double play. Jordan Pacheco followed by lining out to Matt Adams to end the inning. A missed opportunity. ''You see it a lot with the great ones. You might get them in the first inning occasionally and then they settle in,'' Weiss said. ''It looked like Wainwright found his curveball, fell into that groove.'' This is Helton's last hurrah after announcing he was calling it a career after 17 years. Weiss said he plans to start Helton in each of the remaining nine games. ''I'm going to play him as much as he's physically able to do it,'' Weiss said. ''Give the fans an opportunity to see him.'' NOTES: Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez is visiting a hand specialist in Cleveland about his sprained right middle finger. ... Blackmon and Tulowitzki both had two hits for the Rockies.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Todd Helton's Hall of Fame chances could hinge on perception of Coors Field

Is Coors Field going to keep Todd Helton out of the hall?The debate rages on. Is Todd Helton a Hall of Famer?All of Helton's numbers suggest that he has had an incredible career. No one denies that his career has been worthy of being called great. However, the baseball hall of fame, unlike other professional sports, is reserved for the elite of the elite.Helton has a ton of hits...

WATCH: Todd Helton nabs Matt Carpenter with hidden ball trick

During Thursday's Cardinals-Rockies game, retiring veteran Todd Helton pulled one over on Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter, picking him off first base with the hidden ball trick. After Carpenter walked to lead off the game against Roy Oswalt, Oswalt threw a pickoff throw to Helton at first base after the first two outs of the inning had been recorded. Helton faked the...

Colorado Rockies making memories in September

    The last days of Todd Helton in a Rockies uniform. Last night’s 15-inning marathon was more than just an exciting win for the Colorado Rockies. It was the perfect display of where the franchise has been and where it is going. And for Todd Helton, it was one he’ll remember forever. September baseball is a unique stage. Its beauty lies in its differences. Sure the game is...

Is Todd Helton Worthy of The Hall of Fame?

Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton announced his retirement this week, and now the talk has turned to whether he is worth of the Hall of Fame.  Let’s take a look at his stats. 2,506 hits, 1394 runs, 586 doubles, 367 home runs, 1397 RBIs, and a batting average of .317.What I find interesting is that generally people immediately jump to “well, he hit at Coors field, so...

Todd Helton Successfully Pulls Off The Hidden Ball Trick

The 40-year-old Todd Helton who will be retiring after the end of this season may be a bit slower on the field than he once was, but his baseball I.Q. is as sharp as ever. Check out the Rockies’ first baseman successfully fool Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals with a very plain version of the hidden ball trick during Thursday’s extra-inning affair. It may have not have been the...

Playoff hopes all but gone, D-backs visit Helton, Rockies

The Diamondbacks need to be on high alert this weekend, as Rockies first baseman and long-time nemesis Todd Helton is getting downright frisky in his final 10 days in the major leagues. Not only did Helton hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning to force extra innings in the Rockies' 7-6, 15-inning victory over the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon, he also caught base runner...

Helton sparks comeback as Colorado Rockies show fight to win in 15 innings

Corey Dickerson was the hero on Thursday.The results for the Colorado Rockies in 2013 are going to be similar to what they always seem to be. There will be no postseason in Denver. However, there has been something different about the 2013 September for the Rockies.This year they haven't quit. They certainly have lost their fair share of games where the offense didn't show...

Todd Helton Pulls Hidden Ball Trick on Matt Carpenter

It's hard to believe that major league baseball players still get caught with the old hidden ball trick, but they do. And I love it. Watch as...

Todd Helton pulled an awesome trick on Matt Carpenter (Video)

Your browser does not support iframes. Todd Helton may be old and not as effective as he once was, but he still has his guile. The Colorado Rockies first baseman successfully tagged out St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter at first on Thursday after faking a throw back to the pitcher following a pickoff […]

Todd Helton Wins: Pulls Off Hidden Ball Trick

We're guessing St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter is getting a lot of grief tonight. The reason: He fell for the oldest trick in the baseball book. The hidden ball trick. Your perpetrator: Colorado Rockies 1st baseman Todd Helton. Watch...and marvel--

Manning thanks Helton for two big assists

Peyton Manning plans to catch Todd Helton's final home game for the Colorado Rockies next week so he can pay homage to his college buddy who gave him two big assists over the years. The first came when Manning was a homesick freshman at the University of Tennessee in 1994 and Helton, already a star in both football and baseball, took him under his wing and helped him adjust...

Todd Helton Pulls Sneak Attack on Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter, Embarrasses Him for Final Out (Video)

Peyton Manning isn’t the only player in Denver with a masterful pump fake. Rockies first baseman Todd Helton — who, after 17 major league seasons, has seen just about every trick in the book — pulled off a maneuver Thursday afternoon that would make the crosstown quarterback proud. After a pickoff attempt by Roy Oswalt with St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter on first, Helton feigned...

Starting Lineups: Appreciating The Greatness Of Vladimir Guerrero And Todd Helton

In annals of Major League Baseball history, 2013 will forever be remembered as the final chapter in the brilliant career of surefire, first-ballot Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera. But Mo isn’t he only one hanging up the cleats this year. Just a couple days ago, two of the greatest hitters of the late 1990s […]The post Starting Lineups: Appreciating The Greatness Of Vladimir...

Peyton Manning Will Attend Friend Todd Helton’s Last Home Game When Rockies Take on Red Sox

Peyton Manning is submitting his name for BFF of the Year. The Denver Broncos signal caller will be preparing for a Monday night matchup against the Raiders next week, but he’s taking some time out to support one of his good friends. Rockies first baseman Todd Helton announced in September that he would be retiring from Major League Baseball after 17 years with the team, and his...

Preview: Kelly seeks to rebound from a rare loss

The St. Louis Cardinals had their bid for sole possession of first place spoiled by the Colorado Rockies, whose game-winning rally saw a key contribution from Todd Helton in one of his final games at Coors Field. Coming off his first loss in more than three months, it will be Joe Kelly trying to spoil Helton's farewell homestand when he takes the mound for St. Louis on Tuesday...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.