for this game

Francis dazzles as Rockies end eight-game slide

Jul 1, 2007 - 4:05 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- A Lack of offense certainly wasn't the Colorado Rockies problem during their current slide.

Jeff Francis tossed seven scoreless innings and Garrett Atkins drove in two runs as the Rockies ended their eight-game skid with a 5-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Colorado has blown six saves on its nine-game road trip, with closer Brian Fuentes giving up walk-off homers to Carlos Lee and Mark Loretta in the first two games of this series.

Rockies Clint Hurdle was proud of his team for not getting down during the losing streak and the walkoff losses.

"We've been swinging the bats the way we're capable of the last month or so," Atkins said. "We know the pitching's going to get back to where they were."

Francis (8-5) wasn't having any of that in this one. The lefthander yielded three hits with four strikeouts and four walks on a season-high 119 pitches in rebounding from his last outing. The lefthander was tagged for eight runs in five innings against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday.

"We've got a lot of confidence in Jeff," Hurdle said. "He has a lot of confidence in himself. He didn't have his best stuff, but he kept making pitches, getting outs when he needed them." "I'm just trying to do my job," Francis said. "My stuff was all right. My command of my fastball wasn't there. Fortunately, I had a good curveball going."

Hurdle temporarily removed Fuentes from the closer's role and said the job would be done by committee for a while. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless eighth inning Saturday night and lefthander Jeremy Affeldt pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

It was only Colorado's second shutout of the season, with Francis pitching seven scoreless frames of a 2-0 victory at Arizona May 23.

Houston manager Phil Garner blamed his hitters rather than praising Francis.

"I don't think it was terrific pitching," Garner said. "We certainly didn't hit the ball. It was an OK game, but I didn't think it was shutout quality."

In the fourth inning, Matt Holliday doubled in Kaz Matsui and advanced to third on Todd Helton's flyout to center before scoring on Atkins' sacrifice fly off Houston starter Jason Jennings (1-3).

"It's been a really difficult road trip for the morale of the team," Holliday said. "Our pitching was so great for 3-4 weeks, then we hit a little rough spot. But we didn't get down. That's the sign of a team that has a chance to be good."

Colorado stretched its lead to 3-0 in the fifth when rookie Troy Tulowitzki singled, moved up to second and third on a pair of groundouts before coming around on Ryan Spilborghs' slow rolling infield base hit.

The Rockies added another run in the eighth when Matsui hustled his way to a double and later came around on Atkins' run-scoring single. Brad Hawpe's bloop RBI double pushed the lead to 5-0.

Loretta, who doubled in the fourth, was the only Astro to reach third base through eight innings.

Jennings, who was acquired from Colorado in the offseason, worked seven innings against his former team, giving up three runs and five hits while striking out six. It was only the ninth start of the season for the righthander, who was on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow for most of April and May.

"(Jennings) had a pretty solid game," Garner said. "The last couple of starts he's looking strong."

"I felt good," Jennings said. "The ball was jumping out of my hand. I felt like I could throw my fastball where I wanted to. This is probably the best I've felt this year."

Jennings won his only game of the season on June 19, despite surrendering five runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    COLORADO 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 5 10 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: COL - JEFF FRANCIS, LATROY HAWKINS (8TH), JEREMY AFFELDT (9TH) AND
    CHRIS IANNETTA
    HOU - JASON JENNINGS, MATT ALBERS (8TH) AND ERIC MUNSON

    HOME RUNS: COL - NONE
    HO

    Jun 30 9:45 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRAD HAWPE SCORED TODD HELTON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B HAWPE ON SECOND, G ATKINS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 5
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T TULOWITZKI (.281, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Rockies vs. AstrosJun 30 9:15 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GARRETT ATKINS SCORED KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G ATKINS ON FIRST, T HELTON ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: B HAWPE (.297, 0-FOR-3)

    Rockies vs. AstrosJun 30 9:14 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN SPILBORGHS SCORED TROY TULOWITZKI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R SPILBORGHS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 3
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: K MATSUI (.296, 1-FOR-2)

    Rockies vs. AstrosJun 30 8:24 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY GARRETT ATKINS SCORED MATT HOLLIDAY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: B HAWPE (.299, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies vs. AstrosJun 30 8:01 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MATT HOLLIDAY SCORED KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M HOLLIDAY ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 1
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T HELTON (.314, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies vs. AstrosJun 30 7:57 PM
  • 5
    roots
    LionelHutz057 Added 5 roots

    Rockies vs. AstrosJun 30 1:31 PM