Todd Helton hits two home runs and Rockies hold on to beat Cubs

CHICAGO -- Todd Helton and Jorge De La Rosa were too much for the Chicago Cubs to handle.

Helton homered twice for the Rockies and De La Rosa pitched seven strong innings to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Cubs 4-3 Tuesday night.

"We got a very good start tonight," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy." He got better as the game went along. As his tempo into the game got better, so did he.

"To go out there and get that extra inning, he went out in the seventh and put it down very nicely. He pitched us right to the two guys at the back end."

Rafael Betancourt pitched the eighth and Huston Street gave up a solo homer to Alfonso Soriano leading off the ninth before closing out the Cubs for his ninth straight save to start the season.

James Russell (1-3) gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in four innings.

"The one thing I've seen is that when he's been missing, they don't miss very often," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Wasn't a real conducive night to having pitches up in the strike zone. It was a very favorable night hitter wise. I'm actually surprised at the final score. But he kept us in the game."

Ty Wigginton had three hits for Colorado, including a homer and a double. Troy Tulowitzki added two hits and an RBI double in the third.

"What I'm seeing with Jorge that is very, very good to see is that we get down early, then get a couple back and Wigginton hits the home run to give us the lead, and all of a sudden it just seems like there is a different gear that shows up," Tracy said. "To me, that's the sign of a guy that is really starting to understand how to be a winning pitcher on a regular basis."

Wigginton, in his first season with Colorado, marvels at getting to see Helton up close.

"He's clearly still one of the best hitters in the game," said Wigginton "It's a treat to watch him every night."

Helton wasn't available to talk to reporters after the game.

At 16-7, the Rockies have the best 23-game start in team history. The Cubs are 3-5 on this homestand, with one game left. The night before, shortstop Starlin Castro committed three errors in one inning, and the Cubs finished with four in a loss to Colorado.

"We got to be patient," Soriano said. "It's not easy to play here, especially in April. But that's not the key right now. We gotta win some games and score some runs."

Helton's homer to right field in the first inning landed only a few rows behind the ivy, aided by the wind. In the fifth, though, he hit a long no-doubter out to center.

It was the 27th career multihomer game for Helton and his first since Aug. 7, 2007 against Milwaukee.

Tulowitzki let a grounder by Geovany Soto skip under his glove, letting the Cubs take a 2-1 lead in the first. Earlier, Jeff Baker hit a two-out single to tie it.

Game notes
One night after his first career five-hit game, Chicago's Kosuke Fukudome was out of the starting lineup with the Cubs facing LHP De La Rosa. Manager Mike Quade said Fukudome would be seeing plenty of action in the days ahead with the Cubs facing a string of right-handed starters at Arizona and Los Angeles. Fukudome grounded out twice after entering as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, snapping his hitting streak at eight games. ... Rockies starter Aaron Cook is getting closer to returning to the rotation. Cook threw 60 pitches during a bullpen session on Monday, reporting no problems. Manager Jim Tracy said the broken finger on Cook's right hand is "no longer an issue" and that he is now in a spring training mode. Cook will throw again on Saturday and if all goes well, he'll rejoin the Rockies next week in Arizona to continue his throwing program. ... Tracy gave OF Carlos Gonzalez the night off on Tuesday to "let him clear his head." Gonzalez, who is hitting .217 and is just 1 of 20 against left-handers this season, finished third in the NL MVP voting last season. Gonzalez entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth and grounded out in the ninth. ... Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta stole his second base in 363 career games in the fourth inning.