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Francis gets first win as Rockies blank Reds

DENVER (AP) -- Rich Aurilia and the Cincinnati Reds couldn't
believe their eyes after being shut out at Coors Field.

"I don't think I ever saw one," said the Reds first baseman,
who had been coming to Coors Field for 10 seasons. "I don't
believe I ever did until now."

Jeff Francis allowed four hits over seven innings for his first
win in six starts this season and the Colorado Rockies ended a
two-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds
on Wednesday night.

The fact that it was Francis (1-2), who had struggled while
failing to win his first five starts of the year, made it
remarkable. Against the Reds, he struck out five and walked one in
winning for the first time since Sept. 28 at Atlanta, his last
start last season.

"I didn't make any major adjustments," Francis said. "Mainly
I have just tried to be more aggressive and not try to do too
much."

Jose Mesa pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Brian Fuentes
worked the ninth to complete the Rockies' first shutout of the
season and earn his sixth save.

"He did a nice job changing speeds and getting some guys to
swing at balls up out of the zone," Reds manager Jerry Narron said
of Francis. "We had guys in scoring position and we just didn't
get a hit to drive somebody in."

"After that we didn't do a whole lot," said Narron.

Francis worked out of trouble in the first and second innings.
He got Edwin Encarnacion to pop out with two outs and two on in the
first, and he left Brandon Phillips stranded at third in the
second. Aurilia doubled with two outs in the third and Francis
retired the next 11 hitters before giving up a one-out single to
Austin Kearns in the seventh.

"I thought Francis was very efficient and he finished strong,"
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was behind in some counts
early in the first three innings, but got on a roll late, and he
made it look easy when it's not."

Matt Holliday was 3-for-4 with a two-run double and Danny Ardoin
had an RBI single for Colorado.

Brandon Claussen (2-3) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6
2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.

"It's too bad because Brandon pitched a pretty good game,"
Narron said. "If he doesn't have the one inning, the fifth, we'd
probably have been still playing."

The Rockies scored all their runs in the fifth. Ardoin drove in
the first run with a single and Holliday made it 3-0 with the
two-out double over the head of center fielder Ryan Freel.

"In this ballpark you give up three runs, you feel like you've
got a pretty good chance to win," Narron said. "But if you get
four hits your not going to win many games here or any where."

Cincinnati had its two-game winning streak snapped. The Reds
entered the game with the best record in the majors (19-8) and were
off to their best start since 1990, when they began 21-7.<
^Notes@: The Rockies played without SS Clint Barmes, who was in
Indiana attending the funeral of a cousin. ... Brandon Claussen was
only the second left-hander to start against Colorado this year.
... OF Ken Griffey Jr. did not accompany the Reds to Colorado. ...
RHP Paul Wilson of the Reds will make his next rehab start Sunday
in Charlotte. ... Aurilia, who has an 11-game hitting streak, left
the game after the sixth inning with a strained right groin.