• Summary: Jeff Francis, a 17-game winner, pitched six effective innings and three relievers pitched three hitless innings as the Rockies took a 1-0 Division Series lead with a 4-2 victory over the Phillies.
• Goats: The Phillies' top trio of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins combined to go 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts. Utley, a .332 hitter, struck out four times. Cole Hamels, making his first career start against the Rockies, allowed three runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings, fanning seven and uncharacteristically walking four.
• Figure this: Francis had a 15.12 ERA against the Phillies this season.
• Quotable: "Some of the hitters may have been uptight, but Francis was way better than the other times I've seen him." -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel
-- ESPN.com news services
Rockies 4, Phillies 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Bandbox or not, this was no day for hitters.
Jeff Francis held the league's highest-scoring team in check and the Colorado Rockies took advantage of one shaky inning by Cole Hamels to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 in Game 1 of their NL Division Series on Wednesday.
|The Phillies don't have a good history when losing the first game in a postseason series. Here's the results:|
|1993 WS||Lost to Blue Jays|
|1981 NLDS||Lost to Expos|
|1978 NLCS||Lost to Dodgers|
|1976 NLCS||Lost to Reds|
|1950 World Series||Lost to Yankees|
"Who would've thought a good old-fashioned National League game would break out in this ballpark?" Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Making just the second postseason appearance in their 15-year history, the Rockies played like October regulars. Colorado posted its second playoff victory, the other coming in 1995, and won for the 15th time in 16 games.
Matt Holliday, his chin still cut up from the face-first slide that won Monday's wild-card tiebreaker over San Diego, hit a solo home run.
"Any time you expect a slugfest, you get a pitching duel," Holliday said.
Francis pitched six effective innings and stayed out of big trouble, mostly by shutting down the Phillies' top hitters.
"Some of the hitters may have been uptight, but Francis was way better than the other times I've seen him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Phillies are only 1-4 in the World Series, but this has been a surprising season.
|1993||Lost to Blue Jays, 4-2|
|1983||Lost to Orioles, 4-1|
|1980||Beat Royals, 4-2|
|1950||Lost to Yankees, 4-0|
|1915||Lost to Red Sox, 4-1|
|1993||Beat Braves, 4-2|
|1983||Beat Dodgers, 3-1|
|1980||Beat Astros, 3-2|
|1978||Lost to Dodgers, 3-1|
|1977||Lost to Dodgers, 3-1|
|1976||Lost to Reds, 3-0|
|1981||Lost to Expos, 3-2|
The left-hander gave up four hits and struck out eight. Once the 17-game winner departed, three relievers pitched three hitless innings, with Manny Corpas closing for a save.
With the two highest-scoring teams in the league playing in two of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the majors, this series figured to see plenty of runs.
Instead, the clubs combined for six runs and 10 hits in the opener. Many hitters expected the late-afternoon shadows to be a problem, and they certainly struggled.
Francis used a mix of off-speed pitches to keep a potent lineup off-balance and improve to 9-0 in day games this season.
"I'm always aware of my success or nonsuccess I have against teams," said Francis, who had a 15.12 ERA against the Phils this season. "Today, my execution was better."
Kendrick (10-4) made the jump from Double-A to bail out Philly's depleted staff in June. Morales (3-2) made eight starts for Colorado, which lost three starters to season-ending injuries.
Despite the support of a rally towel-waving sellout crowd -- the 45,655 fans in attendance was the second-largest total in four-year old Citizens Bank Park -- the NL East champion Phillies came out flat. Perhaps they celebrated their first postseason since 1993 a little too hard.
The Rockies have only been to the postseason once before, but they're also the hottest team in the league going into the playoffs.
|1995||Lost to Braves, 3-1|
Or maybe Francis was just that sharp, especially the first four innings.
Rowand finally got them going crazy, lining an opposite-field shot to right to start the bottom of the fifth. Burrell followed with a towering drive that just cleared the left-field wall to cut it to 3-2.
But Francis worked out of a two-out jam to preserve the one-run lead, retiring Shane Victorino on a grounder with two runners on.
Holliday, the MVP candidate, gave the Rockies an insurance run when he hit Tom Gordon's pitch into the seats for a 4-2 lead in the eighth.
Hamels, the 23-year-old All-Star lefty, was outstanding except for one inning. Making his first career start against the Rockies, he allowed three runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Hamels uncharacteristically walked four and fanned seven. He kept his cool after walking Troy Tulowitzki on a 3-2 pitch to force in Colorado's third run and retired the next 13 batters.
"You want to succeed in the spotlight," Hamels said. "Nothing can prepare you for what this situation is like."
Roughed up by the Phillies in two starts this season, Francis seemed like he was in for another tough day after falling behind leadoff hitter Rollins 3-0. But the 26-year-old lefty regrouped and ended up striking out the first four batters.
The Phillies' first postseason game since Joe Carter's homer clinched the World Series for Toronto in 1993 left this championship-starved city disappointed once again. At least they don't have to wait 14 years for another playoff game.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Hamels got ahead of Tulowitzki 0-2 before walking him to force in another run. But he struck out Holliday swinging on a changeup to leave the bases full. Holliday nearly hit a slam, just hooking a long foul down the left-field line.
Both of these teams needed strong finishes just to get here.
Aided by the Mets' historic collapse, the resilient Phillies went 13-4 to finally overtake New York for good on the final day. Their remarkable comeback made the Mets the first team ever to blow a seven-game lead with 17 games to play.
The Rockies were even better down the stretch, going 14-1 to erase a 4½-game deficit in the wild-card race and beating San Diego in a one-game playoff in 13 innings after rallying from two runs down against closer Trevor Hoffman.Game notes
Colorado's only other playoff win was on Oct. 6, 1995. The Rockies, then a third-year franchise, beat Atlanta 7-5 to temporarily avoid elimination. ... Torrealba was the only Colorado starter with postseason experience.
- Home Plate Umpire - Dale Scott
- First Base Umpire - Jim Reynolds
- Second Base Umpire - Chuck Meriwether
- Third Base Umpire - Jeff Kellogg