Francis collects lucky No. 13 with victory over D-Backs

PHOENIX (AP) -- Jeff Francis was just getting comfortable when
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle took him out.

"After the line of games he put together going into this start,
I had my mind made up when I got to the ballpark that if he gave us
good effort through six innings, that's going to be plenty,"
Hurdle said Sunday. "Leave his confidence at a high and turn it
over to the people who have gotten us in position to build some of
the momentum we've been building."

Francis faced the minimum 18 batters through six scoreless
innings, and Garrett Atkins drove in three runs to send the
Colorado Rockies to a 7-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Todd Helton and Cory Sullivan each had an RBI double. Matt
Holliday drove in a run with a single, and Clint Barmes added a
sacrifice fly for Colorado.

Francis (13-12) was 1-5 in his previous seven starts. But he
gave up only three hits and walked none in this game to move out of
a tie with Toronto's Gustavo Chacin for most wins by a rookie. The
24-year-old left-hander leads Colorado's staff in victories.

"I really didn't think he was going to take me out," Francis
said. "I was surprised. But it's not really my job to second-guess
those things. We won the game, that's the most important thing, so
I'm not too worried about it."

Chad Tracy hit his second homer in two days for the
Diamondbacks, who left the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth.

"We have to put more runs on the board," he said.

Scott Dohmann worked a nerve-racking seventh, allowing a one-out
homer to Tracy and walking three to load the bases with two outs
before Andy Green flied out.

Mike DeJean had nearly as much trouble in the eighth -- giving up
Alex Cintron's single, walking Craig Counsell and hitting Tracy
with a pitch before ending the inning by striking out Tony Clark
and Troy Glaus.

Ryan Speier got the last three outs.

Francis and Dohmann made Colorado's two-run first inning stand
up until the eighth, when Arizona reliever Oscar Villarreal loaded
the bases on two walks, including an intentional pass to
pinch-hitter Helton, and a bunt single by Omar Quintanilla.

Barmes' sacrifice fly made it 3-1. Sullivan followed with his
run-scoring double and scored behind Helton on Atkins' two-run
double into the left-field corner.

"It just seems like the last three or four days I've been able
to keep my legs under me and kind of drive the ball," said Atkins,
who has four doubles, two homers and 11 RBI in his last four
games. "It's been a long time since I've had six hits and none of
them have been singles."

Russ Ortiz (5-11) pitched five innings, allowing two runs, six
hits and four walks. He is 1-9 in his last 12 starts.

Francis was on from the get-go, working two perfect innings
before Green bunted his way on in the third. But catcher Danny
Ardoin picked Green off first.

Tracy singled in the fourth and Green had his second hit in the
sixth, but each was erased on a double play.

"He's a four-pitch pitcher," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.
"He mixes it up well, and he kept us off-balance."

Atkins hit an RBI double in the first and Holliday followed with
a run-scoring single.

Ortiz kept the deficit to 2-0 through five innings despite
loading the bases twice.

The right-hander hit Ardoin with a pitch and walked one in the
fourth before Barmes hit into an inning-ending double play. In the
fifth, Sullivan singled and Ortiz walked two to load the bases with
two outs. Then Quintanilla hit a pop fly to center.

Game notes
Umpire Gary Darling was scratched just before the game
because of a hamstring pull. Peter Durfee replaced him as the third
base ump. ... Sullivan raced to the 413-foot sign in right-center
to pull in a drive by Glaus with his back to the wall, then ran
into left-center to catch a liner by Conor Jackson for the first
two outs of the second. "It's a huge wall, so that's kind of an
impact on you when you're going back there," Sullivan said. "I
think it takes a few times of playing center field here to get used
to that feeling." ... Tracy saved a run in the fifth when he dived
for a liner to right by Brad Hawpe.

MLB News