The left-hander deftly mixed off-speed pitches and accurate
fastballs to give up one run in 7 2-3 innings in a 6-2 victory over
the Cardinals on Monday night. The Rockies won their fourth
straight and snapped St. Louis' winning streak at three.
Francis (2-2) allowed six hits, struck out one and walked three.
He had a scoreless streak of 14 2-3 innings snapped when Hector
Luna singled home So Taguchi with two outs in the eighth. Francis
was 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in April. He is 2-0 in May with a 0.61 ERA.
"I'm throwing strikes and being aggressive with my pitches,
getting some ground balls and getting ahead on the count. Quality
strikes," Francis said.
Matt Holliday was 3-for-4 with two solo homers and scored three
runs. He hit both homers leading off innings against Cardinals
starter Jason Marquis (3-4). His shots in the third and seventh
innings gave him nine for the season. He also singled and scored in
the fifth and was hit by a pitch in the first.
"He's hot," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Certifiable
Brad Hawpe singled twice and drove in three runs for the Rockies
(20-13), who moved seven games over .500 for the first time since
July 7, 2000, when they were 45-38.
"How good were the Rockies? They just played a good game from
their side in all facets of the game," Cardinals manager Tony La
Marquis has lost his last four decisions, largely due to
wildness. His ERA was 2.79 after his first three starts, all wins.
It is 8.74 in his four losses.
"Of course it's frustrating," Marquis said. "Anytime you're
going out there and trying to get a job done and not doing it, it's
going to be frustrating."
Marquis allowed four walks in 19 1-3 innings in his first three
starts. In the four games since he has walked 13 in 22 2-3 innings.
That wildness was costly again Monday. With two outs and one on
in the first he walked Garrett Atkins and hit Holliday. Hawpe
followed with a two-run single to right.
Atkins led off the fifth with a double, moved to third on
Holliday's single, and scored on a single by Hawpe.
Francis, a rookie last season, is 2-0 lifetime against St.
Louis, allowing one run in 13 2-3 innings, with both wins coming in
St. Louis. He pitched six shutout innings in a 7-0 win over the
Cardinals on June 30, 2005.
"He's on a roll," Hurdle said. "He was getting the leadoff
hitter out. He was getting ahead on the counts. When you can get to
the eighth inning with 100 pitches, that's good for him. He's never
going to be a dart thrower."
Hurdle said that rather than being intimidated by playing the
Cardinals, who have won 100 games or more each of the past two
seasons, in front of a sellout crowd in their new stadium, his
young team embraced the challenge.
"We're just going out and playing," Hurdle said. "This club
looks forward to getting the opportunity to play the game. The
bigger the venue, a little more focus, a little more hype -- they
don't mind that. It's all part of their learning process."
Albert Pujols of the Cardinals walked in the first, his
31st of the season. Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu leads the NL with
34. ... The Cardinals are 12-5 in their inaugural season in the new
Busch Stadium. ... All 17 games at the new stadium have been sold
out. ... The Rockies have gone eight straight games without an
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