Hellickson helps himself with RBI triple

Unexpected base hit is game-winning run as Phillies righty picks up victory

Hellickson helps himself with RBI triple

CINCINNATI -- The next time this happens, Jeremy Hellickson is stopping at second.

Hellickson hit a two-out triple to score a run in the sixth inning Monday in a 4-3 victory over the Reds on Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. It ended up being the game-winning run as Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez allowed a two-run home run in the ninth.

"I was catching my breath for about 30 minutes after I got back in here," Hellickson said. "Last time I'm doing that."

It was the first triple by a pitcher on Opening Day since the Giants' Jack Sanford did it against the Colt .45s at Colt Stadium on April 9, 1963. It was the first triple by a Phillies pitcher on Opening Day since Erskine Mayer hit one against the Boston Braves at Baker Bowl on April 16, 1918.

Hellickson said he "probably never" tripled in his baseball life, so at least he made his first one a good one.

Reds right fielder Scott Schebler tried to make a diving catch on Hellickson's ball, which was a sinking line drive to right. But Schebler missed and the ball rolled to the wall.

"When I picked up Sammy at third, it kind of threw me off," Hellickson said of third base coach Juan Samuel waving him to third.

Hellickson allowed six hits, one run, one walk and struck out one in five-plus innings to earn the win. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he might have let Hellickson pitch longer, despite throwing only 67 pitches, except he worked out of bases-loaded jams in the third and fourth innings and then ran hard on the triple.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.