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Putz serves up game-winning homer in 8-7 loss - Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Putz serves up game-winning homer in 8-7 loss - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Apr 15th 2012, 13:19

By PAT GRAHAM

The Associated Press

DENVER — J.J. Putz tried to sneak a fastball up and in on a cagey hitter.

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher J.J. Putz casts a glance over his shoulder as he walks of the mound after giving up a two-run, walkoff home run to Colorado Rockies' Todd Helton in the ninth inning of the Rockies' 8-7 victory in a baseball game in Denver on Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Rockies' Todd Helton, center, jumps into arms of his teammates as Helton crosses home plate after hiting a two-run, walkoff home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning to give the Rockies' 8-7 victory in a baseball game in Denver on Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Rockies' Todd Helton celebrates as he circles the bases after hitting a two-run, walkoff home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning of the Rockies' 8-7 victory in a baseball game in Denver on Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Turns out, that's precisely the location Todd Helton prefers.

Helton hit a two-out, two-run homer off the reliable Arizona Diamondbacks closer in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Colorado Rockies rallied for an 8-7 win on a rain-soaked Saturday night.

It's a pitch Putz (0-1) would definitely like back.

With one swing of the bat, there went his team-record streak of 28 straight saves.

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

That was Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's take on it, too.

"It's part of baseball," he said. "We got beat by a good pro in Todd Helton. I could hardly see it — it was raining so hard."

The Diamondbacks were trailing 5-1 when the game was halted by a relentless downpour after four innings. But the 71-minute break energized their bats and they came out of the clubhouse swinging.

Miguel Montero hit a three-run homer and pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt broke a tie with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

The lead wouldn't last as Putz hit Marco Scutaro with a pitch to start the ninth inning, but got pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to pop up and then struck out Troy Tulowitzki.

That set the stage for Helton, who played hero once again.

"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 didn't know if it had enough distance."

It did, setting off a raucous celebration for the fans who braved the elements until the end.

On this dreary night in the Mile High City, the grounds crew kept shoveling layers of diamond dust on the soaked infield to dry it out, but that hardly helped. The persistent rain made every play an adventure.

So slick was the field that smooth-fielding shortstop Tulowitzki had two throwing errors — in one inning.

Later, left fielder Gerardo Parra slipped while chasing down an RBI double by Eric Young Jr., which made it a 7-6 game.

Goldschmidt had a big at-bat off the bench with Chris Young standing on third. He hit a high fly to right off Rex Brothers that Michael Cuddyer had plenty of time to camp under.

His throw was on line, too, but Young slid around the tag of catcher Ramon Hernandez.

The Diamondbacks added what looked to be an insurance run in the eighth when Ryan Roberts put down a squeeze bunt and John McDonald avoided the tag of Hernandez. McDonald also drove in the tying run in the seventh on an RBI double that scored Aaron Hill, who reached on Tulowitzki's error.

"I was proud of the guys. They were scrappy," Gibson said. "Those were less than ideal conditions. You could see that Colorado was just trying to get five innings in, they were throwing everybody at us."

Tyler Chatwood (1-0) pitched two innings and gave up a run to earn the win in relief.

These days, Jhoulys Chacin can't win even when the hard-throwing righty is, well, winning.

He was rolling along in the drizzle as he methodically set down the Diamondbacks with a more aggressive approach on the mound. But just as he was about to duck out of the dugout for the fifth inning, the umpires signaled for the tarp.

With that, his night was finished.

Chacin had his good stuff, too, the kind of movement on his pitches that has led manager Jim Tracy to proclaim him an ace in the making. He scattered four hits and gave up one run over four innings, but is still searching for his first win since Aug. 28.

It was definitely a step in the right direction.

Chacin pledged to be more aggressive against the Diamondbacks, instead of nibbling at the plate as he did in his season debut.

He did just that, throwing 41 of his 64 pitches for strikes.

Chacin also helped himself at the plate, driving in a run on a grounder off counterpart Josh Collmenter, who was taken off the hook for a second straight outing.

Collmenter gave up six runs — five earned — in three innings against the Giants, only to see his team rally back in that game, too.

NOTES: The start was delayed 16 minutes by a steady rain. ... Montero has 13 career home runs against the Rockies, his most against any opponent.

___

April 15, 2012 02:46 AM EDT

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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