Rockies finish win win in Todd Helton's finale game; Cuddyer wins NL batting title

6:52 PM, Sep 29, 2013   |    comments
  • September 29, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (17) acknowledges the crowd following his final at bat of the game in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • September 29, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (17) on deck before coming up to hit in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
    
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LOS ANGELES - Jeff Francis came out of the bullpen to win his first start in more than three months, Michael Cuddyer won his first batting title, and Todd Helton singled in the final game of his career to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Sunday.

The NL West champion Dodgers, who lost four of their last five games to finish 92-70, will open the NL division seriess at Atlanta on Thursday.

Colorado (74-88) its their first winning record against the Dodgers since 2007, going 10-9.

Helton was 1 for 4 with a walk and a strikeout, singling his first time up. The first baseman announced two weeks ago that he will retire after his 17th season in the big leagues. He finished with 2,519 hits, 592 doubles, and 369 home runs.

In his last at-bat, Helton received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 52,396, and he waved his left hand in acknowledgement before stepping into the batter's box.

Home-plate umpire Bob Davidson handed Helton the game's official lineup card before the final at-bat. Davidson shook Helton's hand and then the first baseman put the lineup card in his back pocket.

He struck out swinging as the crowd rose for a final ovation.

"The last at-bat, I got a little emotional, but other than that, it's Sept. 29th and I'm ready to go home," Helton told reporters. 

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully paid tribute to Helton on the video board before the game. Fans gave Helton a standing ovation and he waved his cap to the crowd as both teams joined in the applause. Scully sent Helton an autographed microphone.

"That was very kind," Helton said. "They didn't have to do that. But that was pretty cool. I was very honored and humbled from those kind words."

Helton said he's ready to take off the uniform at the end of every September, and it will hit him come the spring.

"Spring training is going to be tough," Helton said on the postgame show. "I'm going to have to make some plans to do some things to make up for that time, because I know when that time rolls around it's going to be tough."

Cuddyer went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts and finished the season with a .331 batting average to win the batting title by 10 points over Atlanta's Chris Johnson, who was held out Sunday to rest his right shoulder.

Francis (3-5) made his first start since June 18 at Toronto, having made 11 previous appearances out of the bullpen. The left-hander allowed one run and three hits in five innings. Rex Brothers pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.

The Dodgers' rally attempt came up short in the ninth after they loaded the bases with one out. Brothers struck out Tim Federowicz and Skip Schumaker to end the game.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8) walked his first batter of the game before giving up three consecutive singles, with Troy Tulowitzki driving in Colorado's first run on his single to left. The Rockies made it 2-0 in the fourth on Charlie Blackmon's RBI single.

Los Angeles closed to 2-1 in the fifth on Skip Schumaker's RBI single.

Ryu gave up two runs and eight hits on four innings in his shortest start of the season. The left-hander struck out four and walked one.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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