Long time Rockies first baseman Todd Helton sliced a double down the left field line against Reds reliever Curtis Partch in the bottom of the seventh for his 2,500th career hit. Helton narrowly beat left fielder Chris Heisey’s throw to second base for the double. There was a brief pause in the game as Helton took off his helmet and acknowledged the standing ovation given to him by the excited crowd at Coors Field.
Helton, now 40 years old and in his 17th Major League season, had been hitless in his previous seven attempts to get #2,500. He went 2-for-5 with two three-run home runs on Friday, but struck out three times in four at-bats tonight and was 0-for-2 with an intentional walk today. Helton is also seven RBI away from 1,400 for his career. Today’s double was the 584th of his career, leaving him one shy of Rafael Palmeiro for 16th on the all-time list.
The Rockies had a 7-2 lead over the Reds at the time of Helton’s double, well on their way to an easy victory in the series finale. They had beaten up Reds starter Mike Leake for six runs in four innings. Meanwhile, Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood could only last two innings before being pulled due to a bruised thumb.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.