PHILADELPHIA – Todd Helton has made plenty of outstanding defensive plays and won three Gold Glove Awards during an impressive career.
He never botched one like this before.
Helton missed tagging first base to allow the winning run to score on Placido Polanco's grounder in the ninth inning and the Phillies rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 7-6 on Wednesday night.
"It's a real bad feeling when you're trying to find the bag and can't find it," Helton said. "I should have been on the bag and I wasn't."
After Dexter Fowler hit a tiebreaking RBI single off Jonathan Papelbon (1-2) with two outs in the ninth, the Phillies got a clutch, two-out hit of their own in the bottom half.
Rafael Betancourt (1-3) retired the first two batters before Ty Wigginton hit a single to left. Hunter Pence ripped a double off the wall in left to score Wigginton, who was running on the pitch.
Carlos Ruiz was intentionally walked and Shane Victorino beat out an infield single on a grounder to shortstop. Polanco then hit a grounder to shortstop Marco Scutaro, whose throw to first was a bit high, but Helton caught it and had time to beat a charging Polanco to the bag. He stretched for first and missed.
Helton was charged with his second error of the season, and the Phillies stormed out of the dugout to celebrate.
"Out of the corner of my eye, I thought the ball was to the outfield," Helton said. "There's no excuse. I should have been there."
It wouldn't have mattered if Victorino and Polanco hadn't gone all-out down the line.
"When you're not doing the big things, the little things work to your advantage," Victorino said. "Hopefully it'll kick start something."
Polanco isn't known for his speed, so Scutaro didn't have to rush the throw.
"I thought I was out on the way," Polanco said. "When I got close to the bag, I saw he was off and I had a chance."
Betancourt has blown three saves in 13 tries.
Wilin Rosario, Michael Cuddyer and Chris Nelson hit homers for Colorado, which has lost 12 of 13.
"My job is to get three outs," Betancourt said. "I knew I had to close the game and I didn't. It kind of hurts."
Michael Martinez homered for the last-place Phillies, who are 5-12 since beating Miami on June 1.
"That was a big finish for us," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Just hustling at the end got us the win. That's why you hustle."
The Rockies got bad news before the game when they learned two-time All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will have surgery on his left groin area on Thursday. It's unknown when he will return.
Their night got worse in the ninth.
Papelbon retired the first two batters before Rosario hit a double to right. Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi was intentionally walked bringing up Fowler, who ripped a single to right to put the Rockies up 6-5.
Papelbon is 17 for 17 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA. But he's given up seven earned runs in 10 1-3 innings in non-save chances.
Phillies starter Joe Blanton gave up five runs and six hits in seven innings. He allowed three homers, but retired the last 11 batters he faced.
Rockies starter Alex White allowed five runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings. Jeremy Guthrie tossed three hitless innings in his first outing out of the bullpen.
Cuddyer's solo shot to left tied it at 4 in the third. Nelson connected in the fourth to give the Rockies a 5-4 lead.
Jimmy Rollins hit a looping double to right to score John Mayberry Jr. to tie it at 5 in the bottom half.
White left after retiring Blanton on a grounder to the mound on his 75th pitch. Rockies starters are limited to 75 pitches now that manager Jim Tracy has decided to use to a four-man rotation. Matt Reynolds replaced White and allowed Rollins' RBI hit.
Both teams' No. 8 hitters traded three-run homers in the second.
Blanton allowed singles to Jordan Pacheco and Nelson before Rosario drove one into the Phillies' bullpen in right-center to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead. Rosario leads all rookies with 10 homers and 30 RBIs.
Notes: Colorado LF Carlos Gonzalez returned to the lineup after missing two games with a strained left knee. He was 2 for 4. ... The Rockies are 4-22 in their last 26 games against the Phillies and 2-13 at Citizens Bank Park. ... Philadelphia's Vance Worley (3-2, 2.80) opposes Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46) in the series finale on Thursday.