SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Todd Helton is looking more like the hitter who owns a career .324 batting average. Last year's subpar effort appears to be an aberration.
Helton collected two hits and drove in a run, helping the Colorado Rockies rally for a 4-3 victory in 10 innings over the Kansas City Royals on Friday.
He has reached base safely in each of his last five at-bats, including four straight hits.
"I have some things I am working on," Helton said. "Keeping a good posture when I'm hitting and basically getting at-bats. I'm feeling comfortable with my swing."
Helton raised his spring average to .417, and has three doubles and driven in three runs.
"I hope I don't hit a wall," Helton said. "Right now I'm feeling good. Mentally is just as important as how I feel physically. It feels good just moving around. I'm in a better place physically. I can move around and go get balls without any worries."
Helton battled through leg and back issues most of last season, when he hit .256 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs. He appears healthy and is swinging freely.
"I'm very intrigued by what I've seen this spring from Todd Helton," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "I see the hand speed and the ball coming off the bat the way we used to see it."
Seth Smith homered for the Rockies, who won their third straight, and Jason Hammel allowed one run on one hit over four innings. He walked one and struck out two.
"I'm enjoying being able to work on stuff," Hammel said. "Mechanically the things I've been working on have been firm and pat. The next time out I'm going out there and attacking hitters more like I would in a real game; thinking baseball and putting it into action."
Alex Gordon and Mike Aviles each hit a home run for the Royals, who lost for the first time in four games. Royals starter Luke Hochevar gave up two runs on four hits in 3 2-3 innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
"He's really starting to come around," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Aviles. "You can see the quality at-bats. He's just starting to hit better in the last five or six days. It was a simple timing issue. The more you get at-bats, the better your timing."
Consecutive two-out errors by Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas allowed Tom Field to score the winning run on Chris Nelson's mishandled grounder. Melky Cabrera also singled and scored a run for the Royals.
"Those things happen," Yost said. "That's why we have spring training; to work the kinks out."
Ben Paulsen tripled to tie the game in the ninth.
Notes: Hochevar allowed his first walk in six spring innings. ... Rockies INF Eric Young, Jr. confirmed that he expected to start Saturday's first game of a day-night doubleheader. C Wilin Rosario is also scheduled to make his spring debut. ... There was an 11-minute delay in the bottom of the seventh inning when home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, who had the flu, left the game due to dehydration. "He's a gamer. He kept trying to hang in there," Yost said. ... Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa will not make his scheduled start Sunday with tightness in his back. RHP Juan Nicasio will get the start and RHP Cory Riordan is also scheduled to pitch. ... The Rockies gave C Chad Moeller his unconditional release. ... RHP Aaron Cook broke bones in the ring finger of his right hand after catching it in a house door.