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Rockies Victorious After 12 Innings


Todd Helton was supposed to have the day off. He earned a seat on Colorado's bench after going 0-for-7 in the first two games of the series at Dodger Stadium.

Helton found himself at the plate with Sunday's game tied in the ninth inning, but he struck out, plunging himself into deeper despair about his burgeoning hitless streak.

Because offense was in such short supply for both teams, Helton got another chance in the 12th. This time, he hit a two-run single to help the Rockies defeat the Dodgers 3-2. The hit came after a throwing error by Scott Radinsky.

"I tried not to think about anything," he said. "If I started thinking, no good thoughts were going to come into my head. They're all going to be negative. The law of averages, I guess, I was bound to scoot one through. I'm glad it came at that time."

Vinny Castilla greeted Radinsky (2-3) with a single leading off the 12th and Jeff Reed laid down a sacrifice bunt to the right of the mound. Radinsky threw wildly past first baseman Jim Eisenreich, putting both runners in scoring position.

"It's a play he's made a lot of times," Dodgers manager Bill Russell said of Radinsky. "He had plenty of time, but it just got away from him."

Helton, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, grounded a single up the middle for a 3-1 lead.

"It was just a timely, well-placed, soft, very slow ground ball in the infield," Helton said. "The biggest thing with that at-bat was Jeff Reed getting the bunt down with two strikes against Radinsky. That's not an easy chore in itself. If he doesn't get the bunt down, that ball could be a double-play ball."

Mike Dejan (2-0) earned the victory with a perfect 11th inning. Eisenreich hit an RBI single in the 12th off Jerry Dipoto, and Chuck McElroy got the last out for his first save.

Dodgers outfielder Raul Mondesi went 0-for-4 a day after returning to the starting lineup. He was arrested early Saturday for investigation of driving under the influence in suburban Glendale, then was held out of the game later that day because team executive vice president Fred Claire said he was concerned about Mondesi's well-being.

Larry Walker homered for the second consecutve game, giving the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the third inning. The Dodgers tied it in the fourth on Eisenreich's RBI grounder.

Rockies starter Pedro Astacio gave up one run and three hits, while striking out six and walking one and retiring his final 14 batters. Despite going nine innings, the former Dodgers pitcher has yet to throw a complete game in 22 starts with Colorado, including 15 this season.

"Offensively, we didn't have a lot," Colorado manager Don Baylor said, "but pitching came through on both sides. Pedro was the best he's been all year. He got better as the game went along. I knew we were going to be locked in a pitching duel. We didn't have a lot of balls hit hard anywhere."

Dodgers starter Ramon Martinez left the game after 4 2-3 innings because of stiffness in his right shoulder, a complaint he had before the game. He was examined by team physician Dr. Frank Jobe, and was scheduled for another exam Monday.

Prior to leaving, Martinez ducked and barely avoided being hit by Mike Lansing's line drive. Martinez gave up one run on four hits, struck out six and walked three.

Notes

  • The Dodgers are 9 1/2 games behind first-place San Diego in the NL West, their largest deficit since finishing the 1993 season 23 games back. "It's getting tough," Martinez said. "We cannot fall too far behind."
  • For the second straight day, Eric Karros broke up what could have been an inning-ending double play for the Dodgers.
  • Eight years ago Sunday, the National League announced plans to expand from 12 to 14 teams for the 1993 season at a cost of $95 million. The Rockies ended up being one of those teams.
  • The two runs Radinsky gave up in the 12th snapped the Dodgers bullpen's scoreless streak at 13 1-3 innings in their last five games.
  • Five Dodgers pitchers combined to strike out 15 batters, tying a season high set April 26 against the Chicago Cubs also in a 12-inning game.
  • Three winners chosen to participate in a $1 million home run sweepstakes sponsored by a beer company tried to make some money before the game. The men, coached for two days by former Dodger Kirk
    Gibson
    , all swung and missed on three pitches. Each received one extra swing and only Steven Shanahan of Santee, Calif., made contact. But his hit into right field missed a $5,000 target. The men received $1,150 each and a prize
    package.

    © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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