for this game

Francis turns tables on Phillies; Rockies take Game One

Oct 4, 2007 - 12:20 AM By Vince DiGregorio Special to PA SportsTicker

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- It was the same venue, but a much different outcome for Jeff Francis.

Francis tossed six solid innings in outdueling Cole Hamels and Matt Holliday added a solo home run as the Colorado Rockies defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2, in Game One of the National League Division Series on Wednesday.

Yorvit Torrealba had two hits and an RBI for the Rockies, who have won 15 of their last 16 games to earn a ticket across the country.

"I (heard) more questions today about were we fatigued, we didn't have a turnaround, we didn't have a rest," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "All I know is, we got time to catch our breath, we got ready to play a game and we felt comfortable with Francis on the mound."

Game Two will be here Thursday.

Colorado (90-73) and Philadelphia (89-73) put on two of the most memorable playoff pushes in history to make it to this point. The Phillies won 13 of their last 17 games but were aided tremendously by the New York Mets' historic collapse. The Mets lost 12 of their final 17 games, including five of their last six.

Colorado, meanwhile, won 13 of their final 14 games, including a franchise-record 11 straight, to force a one-game playoff with the San Diego Padres on Monday. After blowing 3-0 and 6-5 leads, the Rockies scored three times in the bottom of the 13th for a 9-8 triumph and their first trip to the postseason since 1995.

The Rockies' rotation was set up for Francis, who tied the franchise single-season record for wins with 17, and the 26-year-old Canadian delivered.

"I felt very confident he would go out there and would take the ballgame to them," Hurdle said.

Francis (1-0), who was hammered in two starts vs. Philadelphia this season, allowed two runs and four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

"(Francis) had two rough outings against these guys and he's as good as anybody to right a wrong," Hurdle said.

Francis struck out Chase Utley three times and Ryan Howard twice. Utley would eventually strike out in all four of his at-bats and Howard finished with three.

"(Utley and Howard) are the key hitters in that lineup," Francis said. "You want to be able to put them away quickly. You don't want to mess around and fortunately, they were swinging and missing."

In Francis' last appearance at Citizens Bank Park on September 13, he lasted only 3 1/3 innings and surrendered eight runs in a 12-4 loss.

"In that game I pitched in September, I didn't execute pitches very well," Francis said. "I was behind in the count a lot."

Francis struck out the first four batters in this one and allowed just a third-inning single by Hamels until Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell hit back-to-back homers in the fifth to cut the Phillies' deficit to 3-2.

Holliday, who scored the winning run Monday against San Diego and led the league in batting (.340) and RBI (137), hit a first-pitch, solo home run in the eighth inning off Tom Gordon that provided Colorado a 4-2 lead.

"I think the biggest part of (the homer) is, it gives (our bullpen) an extra little bit of room for error," Holliday said. "With (the Phillies) bats and their lineup, one extra run is very crucial."

Holliday was booed vociferously during the pregame introductions and throughout the game because he and Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins are the frontrunners for the MVP award in the NL. He denied taking any extra pleasure in the home run that silenced the Philadelphia crowd.

"Not at all, I take satisfaction in trying to help my team win games," Holliday said. "When I'm able to do that, that's where I get my satisfaction."

LaTroy Hawkins and Brian Fuentes each pitched a scoreless inning for Colorado before Manny Corpas worked a perfect ninth for the save.

"Our bullpen was very efficient again today," Hurdle said. "They have been on a very impressive run. They have just found a way to complement each other out there very, very well."

Hamels went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and just three hits. He walked four and struck out seven.

The Rockies sent nine batters to the plate against Hamels, who was coming off his most dominant performance of the season, in the second and scored three runs to take a 3-0 lead.

Todd Helton led off and hit Hamels' first pitch to deep left-center for a triple.

"My main focus was to throw strikes (in the second inning)," Hamels said. "Helton likes the first pitch and I fell into the trap. I didn't locate it well and he hit it."

Helton scored on a double down the left field line by Garrett Atkins.

"With Atkins, I threw too many changeups and left one changeup up," Hamels said. "I definitely just put it out there on a platter for him."

"He left it out over the plate," Atkins said. "At that point, I'm trying to hit it somewhere and it was a double."

Hamels walked Ryan Spilborghs on four pitches with one out before Torrealba followed with a bloop single to center that scored Atkins to make it 2-0. After Francis advanced the runners with a sacrifice, Hamels walked Kaz Matsui and Troy Tulowitzki to force in the third run.

"Nothing can really prepare you for what this situation is like," Hamels said. "Especially with that second inning that I had. It's just something that now I understand and just put in my memory bank and just have to go after them some other time."

The Phillies got on the board in the fifth, when Rowand hit a 2-1 pitch into the right-center field seats for an opposite-field homer and Burrell drilled a 2-1 offering just over the wall in left to make it a one-run game.

"I felt (like) we didn't hit," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We hit a couple of home runs, but outside of that, I felt like Francis did a heck of a job."

Hamels left the game with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh. Gordon came in and struck out Kaz Matsui swinging to end the inning.

On Friday against the Washington Nationals, Hamels pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing just a walk and six hits with 13 strikeouts.

The teams combined for just 10 hits at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

"Who would have thought that an old-fashioned National League game would break out at this ballpark?" Hurdle asked.






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

    BATTERIES: COL - JEFF FRANCIS, LATROY HAWKINS (7TH), BRIAN FUENTES (8TH), MANNY
    CORPAS (9TH) AND YORVIT TORREALBA
    PHI - COLE HAMELS, TOM GORDON (7TH), J.C. ROMERO (8TH),
    BRET

    Oct 3 6:01 PM
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    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MATT HOLLIDAY (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 8TH OFF TOM GORDON.
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4, PHILADELPHIA 2
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T HELTON (.333, 1-FOR-3)

    Rockies vs. PhilliesOct 3 5:24 PM
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    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PAT BURRELL (1) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    5TH OFF JEFF FRANCIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 3, PHILADELPHIA 2
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: W HELMS (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies vs. PhilliesOct 3 4:29 PM


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    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY AARON ROWAND (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF JEFF FRANCIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 3, PHILADELPHIA 1
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P BURRELL (.000, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Rockies vs. PhilliesOct 3 4:27 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO TROY TULOWITZKI SCORED RYAN
    SPILBORGHS.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, T TULOWITZKI ON FIRST, K MATSUI ON SECOND, Y
    TORREALBA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 3
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: M HOLLIDAY (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies vs. PhilliesOct 3 3:38 PM
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    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YORVIT TORREALBA SCORED GARRETT ATKINS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, Y TORREALBA ON FIRST, R SPILBORGHS ON
    SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: J FRANCIS (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Rockies vs. PhilliesOct 3 3:30 PM


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    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GARRETT ATKINS SCORED TODD HELTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G ATKINS ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 1
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: B HAWPE (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Rockies vs. PhilliesOct 3 3:25 PM
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