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Rockies 8, Mets 4

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DENVER (AP)

Being nearly 40 now, Todd Helton doesn't particularly care for cold-weather games.

It takes him longer to warm up, he can't stay loose in the field and his grip feels all wrong at the plate.

''You just feel it a little bit more,'' Helton said.

That's why he wasn't too disappointed when he was given the nightcap off Tuesday. Hey, he did his part.

Helton hit a go-ahead single and the Colorado Rockies beat the New York Mets 8-4 in the opening game of a doubleheader that was delayed 2 hours as 8 inches of snow was cleared off the field.

''That's big,'' said Helton, whose team is 4-0 at home this season. ''But this game's even bigger. The conditions aren't going to do anything but get worse.''

One day after a spring storm postponed the first game of the series, the teams were scheduled to play two in frigid conditions. The temperature at first pitch was 39 degrees and dipped even lower to 36 to begin the second game. That was the fourth-coldest temperature at first pitch in the Mile High City.

''I used to love these games when I was younger, not so much anymore,'' said Helton, who will turn 40 in August.

David Wright homered twice for the Mets, finally back on the field after cold weather postponed two straight games. Wintry conditions in Minneapolis on Sunday prompted their game against the Twins to be called off and rescheduled in August.

Juan Nicasio (2-0) struggled with his command, unable to locate his fastball, but still earned the win. He lasted five innings and allowed four runs before being lifted for a pinch hitter.

Dillon Gee (0-3) had another rough outing, going 4 2-3 innings and giving up five earned runs. He yielded seven runs in three innings at Philadelphia a week ago.

''Seems like every time they hit a ground ball it finds a way through,'' Gee said. ''That is the way it is going right now.''

Early on Tuesday morning, Rockies owner Dick Monfort took the field with a shovel and helped clear the way for the game to be played. A crew of team employees lent a hand as well, as did Sandy Alderson, the general manager of the Mets.

Asked if he thought about helping out, Mets manager Terry Collins simply answered, ''No.''

''I don't shovel,'' he added. ''I grew up shoveling snow. When I moved to Florida, I sold my shovel.''

Players tried everything to stay warm. Some wore extra layers and others kept close to the dugout heaters as much as they could. Colorado second baseman Jonathan Herrera even wore a ski mask, just to keep the biting wind off his face.

The teams originally scheduled a split doubleheader to make up Monday's postponement. But all the snow and the late start Tuesday turned it into a traditional twinbill, with just a short break between games.

A sparse crowd showed up for the day game, bundled up in heavy coats and stocking caps. The Rockies didn't plow the upper deck and allowed all fans to sit in the lower level. Even then, the stands looked awfully empty even though the attendance was announced as 21,510.

Helton put the Rockies ahead with a two-run single that chased Gee in the fifth. Eric Young Jr. added two late RBIs for Colorado.

Carlos Gonzalez had a solo homer, a triple and scored two runs. Young knocked in runs with a single in the sixth and a triple off the fence in the eighth.

The Rockies had a reason for concern in the fifth when Troy Tulowitzki was hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Gee. Manager Walt Weiss came out to check on his All-Star shortstop, along with the trainer, before Tulowitzki motioned that he was all right. Tulowitzki missed the majority of last season with a groin injury that eventually required surgery to remove scar tissue.

He wasn't in the lineup for Game 2.

''I think he'll be fine. He's going to be sore,'' Weiss said. ''They got him right on the elbow. Got him pretty good.''

Colorado scored three runs in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. Helton had the big hit, a two-out single that just rolled under the glove of second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Wright hit his first homer of the season in the first, a two-run liner into the bullpen in right. The Mets have hit at least one homer in every game this season, the only team to accomplish the feat.

In the fifth, Wright hit another to center for his 19th career multihomer game.

This much is certain: Wright enjoys hitting at Coors Field. He finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs on Tuesday and is batting .398 with 10 homers in the ballpark.

Because the Mets and Rockies didn't celebrate Jackie Robinson Day the day before, the players all donned No. 42 on Tuesday.

''It's an honor,'' Collins said. ''I really believe what somebody said yesterday - it's one of the most important days in the history of baseball. I agree with that. Every ethnic person who plays the game should respect what Jackie had to go through and what he meant. It's an honor to have No. 42 on for one day.''

NOTES: Rockies OF Dexter Fowler rested a tender left foot. Fowler fouled a pitch off the foot on Sunday and had precautionary X-rays that came back negative. ... The coldest game in Denver was 28 degrees on April 12, 1997, against Montreal.

Tagged: Eric Young, Todd Helton, David Wright, Troy Tulowitzki, Dillon Gee, Mets, Rockies

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