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Francis pitches superbly as Rockies defeat Dodgers

Sep 18, 2007 - 11:25 PM DENVER (Ticker) -- Jeff Francis put a dent in the Los Angeles Dodgers' playoff hopes.

Francis pitched 6 2/3 superb innings as the Colorado Rockies posted a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in the opener of a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.

Matt Holliday, Todd Helton and rookie Joe Koshansky each had an RBI for Colorado, which has won two straight contests following a three-game losing streak.

The loss to the Rockies dropped Los Angeles (79-71) 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks (84-67) in the National League West Division. Los Angeles also fell 3 1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres (82-67) in the NL wild card race.

The Rockies are on the periphery of both races, 5 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks and 4 1/2 in arrears of the Padres.

"We aren't too worried in the clubhouse about what we need to do," Francis said. "We're just trying to win and that is all we have control over. We know the next three series are really big. We just need to win. We did it today and we need another one tonight to keep us going."

Francis (16-8) was outstanding, yielding a run, six hits and three walks while setting a career high with 10 strikeouts. It was much better than his last performance, when lefthander was tagged for a season-high eight runs and eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings.

"The last start I didn't do a lot of things right," Francis said. "This one I executed a lot better. I was able to make better pitches in some tough situations."

Francis improved to 3-0 this season vs. Los Angeles and is 3-0 all-time when facing the Dodgers at Coors Field. He is also one victory shy of matching the team's single-season record set by Kevin Ritz in 1996 and tied by Pedro Astacio three years later.

"Francis's changeup was outstanding," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "That was the difference today."

The only run Francis allowed was a one-out homer in the seventh to Olmedo Saenz, who was pinch-hitting Rafael Furcal. The blast was the fourth this season for Saenz, his second as a pinch hitter.

"We had quite a few chances but we weren't able to get any runs other than the homer by Olmedo," Little said.

LaTroy Hawkins relieved Francis in the seventh and worked around a two-out double to Matt Kemp by inducing Jeff Kent to ground out.

Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect eighth before Manny Corpas came on in the ninth to record his 15th save in 17 opportunities.

The Rockies broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth when Cory Sullivan led off with a double off Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley (11-5) and scored two batters later on a single by Holliday.

Two innings later, another leadoff double by Sullivan and a one-out walk to Holliday put runners on first and second before a base hit to right field by Helton gave Colorado a 2-0 lead.

Billingsley allowed two runs, four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. The righthander, who struck out six, lost for the first time in six starts.

Leading, 2-1, in the seventh, Brad Hawpe singled off reliever Scott Proctor before moving to second on a sacrifice.

Koshansky, pinch-hitting for Omar Quintanilla, boomed a double to the base of the right field wall for the first hit and second RBI of his career.

Kemp and Russell Martin each had two hits for the Dodgers.








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

    BATTERIES: LOS - CHAD BILLINGSLEY, MARK HENDRICKSON (6TH), SCOTT PROCTOR (7TH),
    JOE BEIMEL (8TH) AND RUSSELL MARTIN
    COL - JEFF FRANCIS, LATROY HAWKINS (7TH), BRIAN FUENTES
    (8

    Sep 18 5:59 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    DOUBLE BY JOE KOSHANSKY SCORED BRAD HAWPE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J KOSHANSKY ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 1
    COLORADO 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: L HAWKINS (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Dodgers vs. RockiesSep 18 5:28 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    SOLO HOME RUN BY OLMEDO SAENZ (4) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    7TH OFF JEFF FRANCIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 1, COLORADO 2
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: J PIERRE (.291, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Dodgers vs. RockiesSep 18 5:10 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    SINGLE BY TODD HELTON SCORED CORY SULLIVAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T HELTON ON FIRST, M HOLLIDAY ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
    COLORADO 2 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: G ATKINS (.291, 0-FOR-2)

    Dodgers vs. RockiesSep 18 5:01 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    SINGLE BY MATT HOLLIDAY SCORED CORY SULLIVAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M HOLLIDAY ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
    COLORADO 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T HELTON (.315, 0-FOR-1)

    Dodgers vs. RockiesSep 18 4:17 PM