Holliday hits game-ending single; Helton returns from DL

DENVER (AP) -- Todd Helton didn't handle his first trip to the
disabled list too well.

Antsy about not playing, bored with watching and guilty for not
contributing, Helton couldn't wait to get back on the field.

He tried to make up for it all in one night -- and nearly pulled
it off.

Helton had a pair of doubles and scored on Matt Holliday's
10th-inning single, lifting the Colorado Rockies to a 6-5 victory
over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.

"I think one of the true tests of a man's mettle, an athlete's
mettle, is when you get put into a situation where the game is
taken away from you," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "I mean,
he felt guilty not being able to play in the conversations I had
with him, and I can't say that I've ever experienced [that] too
many other times in any other individuals."

Because there aren't many like Helton.

Despite a sometimes cranky back, the five-time All-Star had
never missed more than 10 games in any of his previous seven full
seasons and his longest stint of inactivity came last season, when
he missed six games due to a strained side muscle.

But Helton's luck with injuries ended last month, when he
strained a calf muscle rounding the bases, causing him to miss 14

It came at a bad time. After opening the season in the worst
slump of his career, Helton started to turn things around, hitting
.389 in the 30 games before his injury to raise his average more
than 30 points to .294.

The layoff didn't seem to bother him, though.

Helton hit a run-scoring double just before Holliday's three-run
homer in the fifth inning, hit another ball hard to center and
capped the night by chugging around from second when Holliday lined
a single up the middle off Rick White (3-4) in the 10th.

Helton labored as he came in on the final play, slightly
favoring his sore leg, but scored easily when center fielder Tike
Redman couldn't come up with the ball cleanly.

"I saw he bobbled it so I thought I had a good chance to make
it," said Helton, who finished 2-for-5. "It was important that we
had a win."

The Pirates had their chances to take it away.

Pittsburgh scored four runs in the seventh inning to get back in
it, then had the go-ahead run on second in the ninth after Jack
Wilson's single and a sacrifice bunt. The threat ended when Brian
Fuentes got Redman to fly out to left and struck out Jody Gerut.

David Cortes (2-0) worked a perfect 10th to get the win.

"I don't take much solace out of close losses," Pirates
manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I want to win them all. The close
ones are harder for me than being blown out."

Rockies starter Aaron Cook had his second straight quality
outing since coming off the DL, but again got a no decision.

The right-hander, who returned July 30 after two surgeries to
remove blood clots from his lungs, had plenty of bite on his sinker
and hit the low-90s with his fastball. He allowed a run in the
fourth inning on Jason Bay's RBI single and one other hit before
tiring in the seventh inning.

Cook walked Bay to lead off the seventh, then gave up a
run-scoring double to Brad Eldred. Cook got Jose Castillo to hit
into a fielder's choice, then Humberto Cota followed with a
run-scoring single to right that cut Colorado's lead to 5-3.

Cook was done after that, walking off to a standing ovation. He
allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits.

Scott Dohmann then walked pinch hitter Daryle Ward and Redman
hit a two-run triple that tied it at 5-all, leaving Cook still
without a win in his return.

"I would have loved to have stretched him out, but when the
balls start getting hit off him up in the air and they're going
into the outfield, that's usually a telltale sign," Hurdle said.

Pirates starter Mark Redman had trouble with a sore back in his
last outing, giving up six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against San
Diego last Thursday. He had his changeup working early this time,
getting nine of his first 12 outs on groundouts or strikeouts.

Redman got in trouble with a two-out walk to Cook in the fifth.
Luis Gonzalez followed with a single, Garrett Atkins had an RBI
single and Helton hit a run-scoring double to left. Holliday
followed with his 11th homer, a 438-foot, three-run shot to
left-center that put the Rockies up 5-1.

Redman lasted five innings, giving up six hits and five runs --
the sixth time in eight starts he's allowed at least five runs.

"I'm glad that my back seems to be bouncing back OK. I was
finishing my pitches," Redman said. "Unfortunately, I learned a
hard lesson today by walking the pitcher. It came back and bit

Game notes
The Rockies signed RHP Gabe Molina to a minor league
contract on Wednesday. He last pitched in the majors for St. Louis
in 2003 and spent time with Baltimore and Atlanta. ... Cook was
awarded a single in the third inning when Redman collided with 1B
Brad Eldred and couldn't make the throw. The bunt was initially
ruled a sacrifice before being changed to a hit in the fourth
inning after the scorekeeper conferred with the Elias Sports