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HELTONED.....Colorado 3, TIGERS 1, S 5/24/09
Posted on: 05-24-2009

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>>caption:  SARDINHA'S RBI-1B


    Tiger bats were mostly silent
against four Rockies pitchers on
Sunday, but Colorado 1Bman Todd
Helton wielded a hot stick for the
second time in less than 24 hours
and he batted the Rox to a second
straight win at Detroit.
    After Helton's Saturday solo homer
gave Colorado a 4-3 win, his pair of
2-out RBI basehits tied and put his team ahead in a 3-1 Sunday matinee decision.  
    Tiger LHP Dontrelle Willis had his second straight decent start, but took
the loss for lack of offensive support.
    He wasn't as "lights-out" as he was in his Tuesday shutout effort against
Texas, but Willis was twice within one pitch of getting out of Sunday's game
    Two walks and two singles in the B-2nd gave Detroit an early 1-0 lead
on Rockies starter Jason Hammel. The unlikely bases-loaded RBI-1B was by
back-up Tiger catcher Dane Sardinha, who strode to the plate with an 0.53-BA.
Sardinha's blooper into medium depth CField was poorly played by Colorado
CFielder Dexter Fowler allowing Magglio Ordonez to score from 3Base.
    Fowler walked with 2-outs in the T-5th, moved up on a Troy Tulowitzki
single and then scored to tie the game on Helton's RBI-2B that bounced off
the RField wall.  
    Willis began to tire in the T-7th when he yielded a lead-off single to light-
hitting Ian Stewart, but a sac-bunt and an infield grounder later the lanky
southpaw was almost out of the frame. However, Heltion scored Stewart with
the go-ahead run on an RBI-1B. Helton then scored an insurance run on a
hit=-&=run, RBI-2B to the RCField gap by Matt Murton for the 3-1 final.
    Willis (L, 1-1) went 6.2-IP to allow 3-R/3-ER on 7-H & 4-W with 4-K. Brandon
Lyon (1-IP) and Bobby Seay (1.1-IP) tossed scoreless Detroit relief.
    Hammel earned his first win of the season (1-3) by giving up just the lone
run (earned) on 6-G & 4-W with 4-K in his 6-plus-IP. Three Rockies relievers
pitched a scoreless, hitless inning each with Houston Street turning in a perfect
B-9th with 1-K to earn the save (#7), his second of the series.
    Ordonez was the only Tiger with multiple basehits, going 2-for-3 with a 2B, R & W.
    Fowler was 2-for-3 with 1-W and Helton 2-for-5 for the Rockies.
    By winning the last two games of the weekend set the Rockies took the series
2-1 and denied Detroit its first 8-1 homestand since 1989.

      COLO     3-8-0, 9-LOB      (W) Hammel, 1-3; (S) Street, #7
      DET         1-6-1, 7-LOB      (L) Willis, 1-1  


TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "I thought (Willis) pitched very well. He did a great
job changing speeds...This was a very good homestand, but it could have been
a great one. Hidden in that streak is that we haven't done much offensively.
We've pitched well, we've run well and we've caught the ball well, but offense
hasn't been there."

TIGERS SP DONTRELLE WILLIS:   ""I felt like I threw the ball well...(but)...I fell behind
some guys...Hats off to him. That's Todd Helton. I've faced that guy a bunch of times
(when Willis was with the Florida Marlins)...That's a guy that is going to the Hall of
Fame. There's going to be days where he gets you...When I'm getting guys out, it
looks like I know what I'm doing, and when I don't, it doesn't...It has never stopped
being fun, though. It was fun when I was pitching in the minors. I love playing baseball."

ROCKIES SP JASON HAMMEL:   "I've been pitching pretty well, so I just knew I needed to
keep plugging away. Today, I had my sinker working well, so I just had to throw strikes
and let the defense make plays behind me."

ROCKIES MGR CLINT HURDLE:   "We had a lot of chances, and I'm just glad we got enough
of them home to win the game. Dontrelle made it tough. He keeps you off balance. When
he struck out Todd in the third, that was three fastballs into a tea cup."


    Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 10 games, going 14x37 for a .378-BA
in that span.
    Tiger rookie Josh Anderson went 0-for-4 to conclude a 3x22, .136-BA homestand.
    The top third of the Detroit batting order was 0-for-11 Saturday and 0-for-12
Sunday. Thus, the Tigers lost their first two weekend games of the season after
starting 12-0 on Saturdays & Sundays combined (six W each day).
    Before his two RBI basehits Sunday, Helton was a career 1x11 (.091-BA) lifetime
vs Willis.
    The Rockies 15-day DLed catcher Chris Iannetta, who pulled his right hamstring
and had to leave Saturday night's game. Colorado purchased the contract of catcher
Paul Phillips from its 3A Colorado Springs farm club.
    Injured Tigers OF/DH Marcus Thames (ribcage) begins a rehab assignment with
3A Toledo when the Mud Hens return home to host Norfolk Monday evening. DLed Tiger
RHP Jeremy Bonderman will make his third minor league rehab start and second for
the Hens when Toledo hosts Norfolk Tuesday night.  
    The AL-Central leading Tigers open a 3-game series at Kansas City Monday
afternoon. Tiger probables for the visit are Justin Verlander (4-2), Edwin Jackson
(4-2) and Rick Porcello (5-3). The Royals are scheduled to counter with Gil Meche
(2-4), Zack Greinke (7-1) and Kyle Davies (2-3).



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