Holliday comes through big to take first batting title

Chipper Jones had basically conceded the batting title and for good reason. Rockies slugger Matt Holliday needed to go 0-for-5 in Monday's tiebreaker against the Padres to squander his lead.

When he singled in the bottom of the fifth, that should have done it. But the game lingered on, and as inning followed inning, there was a chance that the title could have slipped away. Holliday had an emphatic answer -- a triple in the bottom of the 13th that tied the game on the way to the Rockies' thrilling 13-inning, 9-8 win.

Holliday finished the night 2-for-6 to end the regular season with an average of .340, beating out Jones at .337. He becomes the first Rockies batting champ since Larry Walker in 2001.

Holliday's bat made up for his glove on Monday. He misplayed a Brian Giles flyball in the eighth into a game-tying double.

"I'm glad we won or that might have haunted me for the rest of
my life," Holliday said. "It worked out, and luckily I don't have
to think about it."

Holliday has improved his batting average, home run total and RBIs in each of his first four seasons. He overtook the Phillies' Ryan Howard for the RBI crown with his 137th in the 13th on Monday.

After Sunday's Braves finale, the 35-year-old Jones, accepted that he would probably fall just short in the batting race.

"I can't complain," Jones said. "I barreled two balls, just
right at guys. That's baseball. Sometimes they fall in for you and
sometimes they don't. But I'm very pleased with how I was swinging
the bat."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.