The left-hander, who tied the franchise record with 17 wins last year, walked three St. Louis Cardinals, each on four pitches, in a four-run first inning and gave up a home run to Albert Pujols in the second. His record was wiped clean when the game was postponed by rain Monday with the Cardinals leading 5-1 in the third inning.
"I might be the luckiest guy on the planet today," Francis said. "I guess I should go to the casino tonight."
After a wait of 1 hour, 39 minutes, the game was called and the opener was rescheduled for Tuesday night. It marked the fourth time in club history -- and first since 1994 -- that the Cardinals' home opener was rained out.
The rainout gives Kip Wells a chance to face his former team.
Wells, 7-17 with a 5.70 ERA last year with the Cardinals, had been slated for long relief. Instead he gets a fill-in start against Kyle Lohse, who signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Cardinals in mid-March. Lohse was supposed to have faced minor-league hitters on Tuesday for a final tuneup.
"Obviously you use the adrenaline of the moment to your advantage," Wells said. "Other than that, you've still got to stay composed and make pitches and not get distracted by the circumstances.
"It'll be exciting but this has all transpired in the last hour so for me to have some poetic feel about it, it's kind of last-minute," he added.
Lohse will be on regular rest after throwing five shutout innings in his final spring outing. The Cardinals had planned to delay his debut until Sunday because of his late start.
"He's on time for it, so I think we'll start Kyle and see how far he can go," manager Tony La Russa said.
Francis needed 70 pitches -- only half strikes -- to get seven outs before a downpour stopped the game with one out in the third inning and the Cardinals leading 5-1.
"That's not the Jeff we've grown accustomed to seeing," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's the most out of whack we've ever seen him as far as mechanics are concerned."
Pujols hit five homers and 18 RBIs in spring training, quieting reports of a torn ligament in his right elbow that could require surgery. His solo home run off Francis made it 5-1 in the second.
Francis opened the game with 10 straight balls, walking Skip Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick. Pujols then swung at a high fastball that would have made it a 3-0 count and reached for another pitch out of the zone on a line-drive out to left.
Francis followed with seven straight balls, walking Troy Glaus to load the bases and falling behind 3-0 against Ankiel. Ankiel lined a full-count pitch down the first-base line for a two-run double and Molina followed with a single.
Adam Wainwright also had a shaky first, allowing two hits and a walk. Left fielder Schumaker made a diving catch that robbed Troy Tulowitzki of extra bases to help Wainright get out of the jam. The Rockies scored on Garrett Atkins' broken-bat RBI grounder.
"I was actually just starting to feel pretty good when it got rained out," Wainwright said. "I was a little amped at the start of the game. I was getting the ball up a bit."
Are too many strikeouts bad for MLB?
Tim Kurkjian voices his concern over the higher number of strikeouts this season in Major League Baseball.
How the culture of baseball is changing
Joon Lee, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian and Jeff Passan discuss the culture shift in baseball as players understand and use social media and marketing more than in previous generations.
The State of Baseball: Inside the biggest questions MLB is facing with the future of the sport at stake
Are games too long? How can baseball maximize its new generation of stars? We dig into the topics that will shape the game far beyond this season.
Orioles take 3-game slide into matchup with Red Sox
Boston Red Sox (22-13, first in the AL East) vs. Baltimore Orioles (15-19, fifth in the AL East)
Wood scheduled to start for San Francisco against Texas
Texas Rangers (18-18, fourth in the AL West) vs. San Francisco Giants (20-14, first in the NL West)
Angels to face Astros on the road
Los Angeles Angels (15-18, fifth in the AL West) vs. Houston Astros (18-16, second in the AL West)