Helton a nice substitute at No. 3 in the lineup

Helton a nice substitute at No. 3 in the lineup

CHICAGO -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy gave the slumping Carlos Gonzalez a night off Tuesday, but didn't have to fret much about his choice for the important No. 3 spot in the lineup.

Todd Helton held that role with distinction for several seasons. Helton, hitting .310 entering play and running up pitch counts with competitive at-bats, was an easy choice to move up from the fifth position.

"That's a pretty good name to put in there," Tracy said. "Todd Helton is in a really good place. When you get people in a really good place, I don't like to disrupt that. And yet we have four other guys in the lineup tonight that are hitting under .200 [Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta]. So in order to give them the best chance to [right] themselves, who's the next guy to put in there? A potential Hall of Famer is a pretty good choice."

Helton said it's not a huge deal to move into the No. 3 spot for a night.

"A three-hole hitter is the focal point in the lineup, if that's the right word," Helton said. "But you'd like your three-hole hitter to run a little bit more than I can run. But I don't care, either way. I've always said, 'As long as I'm not hitting ninth.' I know it's not good writing material, but it's true."

Helton got the Rockies off to a quick start during Tuesday's 4-3 victory, with a two-out solo home run in the first inning. He then hit his third home run of the season, another solo shot, in the top of the fifth for his first multihomer game since Aug. 7, 2007, against the Milwaukee Brewers.