Jason Hammel pitched four solid innings, Todd Helton had another great day at the plate, and the Colorado Rockies won another game in walkoff fashion, at Salt River Fields on Friday afternoon.
Hammel was effective, pitching four innings and allowing a single run off a first inning homerun by Royals third baseman Mike Aviles. After that run scored, he was essentially flawless, pitching with very little traffic and striking out two Royals.
Rockies RF Seth Smith tied the game up in the bottom of the first with a towering blast to center field off Royals pitcher and Colorado native Luke Hochevar. Smith is now hitting .286 for the spring after his 1-3 day.
1B Todd Helton continued his resurgent spring with another 2-2 day, including an RBI single in the second inning. Helton also had a walk, and has four hits in his previous four at bats, raising his spring average to a robust .412 average.
Rockies Franklin Morales continued his stellar spring, pitching yet another flawless inning. He has yet to allow an earned run, and is making a case as the top lefthanded arm in the Rockies’ bullpen this year, especially with the struggles of Matt Reynolds.
The Rockies found themselves down 3-2 in the ninth inning, but OF Charlie Blackmon walked, and then scored on a Ben Paulsen triple off the outfield wall to tie the game. Rockies RHP Bruce Billings pitched the top of the 10th, striking out top Royals prospect Mike Moustakas to preserve the tie.
In the bottom of the 10th, IF Thomas Field reached base on a throwing error by Moustakas and advanced to second base. Chris Nelson played hero for the second straight day, hitting a sharp groundball to third that was misplayed, allowing Field to score the winning run in walkoff fashion.
Colorado is now 9-5 this spring.
The Rockies will have a split squad for their two games on Saturday, March 12. Ubaldo Jimenez will start the 1:05 p.m. MST game against the San Diego Padres. Greg Reynolds will start the 6:40 p.m. MST against the Arizona Diamondbacks.