Helton homers twice in Rockies' win

DENVER (AP) -- After a subpar first half, Todd Helton has taken a different approach to hitting.

"I'm not trying to do too much and it's yielded some pretty good results," he said. "When I go up and swing hard and if I do hit it, I usually hook it foul. So I decided to slow myself down."

Helton homered twice and drove in three runs Friday night and Garrett Atkins added a three-run shot to lead the Colorado Rockies
to an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Helton was hitting .264 with six home runs on June 30. Since then he has batted .365 with 11 homers.

"By slowing myself down, I've stayed in control," he said. "It's been working out."

Atkins matched a career high with four RBI, and Helton had two of Colorado's 13 hits.

"I'd say he's been pretty good for us," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "And he's off to a pretty good September."

Sunny Kim (4-2) worked 5 1/3 innings for the win, allowing one run and six hits. The only run he gave up came on Mike Edwards'
third homer.

"The fact is, Kim pitched without a fastball or command of it," Hurdle said. "That's usually a recipe for disaster in this park."

Jose Acevedo pitched three innings for his first major-league save.

Los Angeles remained six games behind first-place San Diego in the NL West. The Padres were beaten 12-2 in Milwaukee.

Jeff Weaver (13-9) gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings, failing to get his career-best 14th win. Weaver had won six straight decisions and hadn't lost in 10 starts.

"We had opportunities for this game to be different than it was," Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. "We let it get away from us and that happened in the top of the first inning."

Jayson Werth blooped a single to center to start the game, stole second and moved to third on an infield single by Oscar Robles.
Jeff Kent struck out before Kim retired Ricky Ledee and Jason Phillips on popups.

Helton gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the bottom half. Cory Sullivan walked with one out and Helton hit a 3-2 pitch over the scoreboard in right.

Edwards hit the first pitch of the second inning into the left field seats.

After allowing a leadoff single to Sullivan, Weaver retired Helton and Matt Holliday in the third inning. But Brad Hawpe
singled and Atkins hit a three-run homer on a 1-0 pitch to make it 5-1.

"I've gotten him out hard the last couple of times I have faced him," Weaver said. "I thought I could get a 1-0 slider in there, and he killed it."

Atkins enjoyed his big hit.

"That one felt good because I stayed back on the pitch and stayed with it with my swing," he said. "I went to a lot of Dodger games as a kid."

Helton hit a drive off the foul pole in right leading off the fifth, his 17th homer of the season.

Aaron Miles added a two-run single in the seventh to make it 8-1. Holliday, Hawpe and Atkins each drove in a run in the eighth.

Game notes
The Dodgers recalled catcher Mike Rose from Triple-A Las Vegas and purchased the contract of left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo from Double-A Jacksonville. Kuo made his major-league debut in the seventh and retired Clint Barmes, who just came off the 60-day DL. ... Dodgers outfieldere Milton Bradley was transferred to the 60-day DL. ... Helton has 25 multihomer games in his career and two this year -- both against the Dodgers. ... Right-hander Zach Day will start Sunday for Colorado. ... J.D. Closser glared at Weaver after being hit by a pitch in the fifth.