for this game

Francis, Hawpe combine to get Rockies off to a quick start in NLCS

Oct 12, 2007 - 6:52 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Jeff Francis continues to have the Arizona Diamondbacks' number at Chase Field. But that can't compare to the pasting Brad Hawpe continues to apply to Brandon Webb.

Francis pitched 6 2/3 strong innings and Hawpe delivered a key two-run single as the streaking Colorado Rockies recorded a 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Game One of the National League Championship Series on Thursday, a contest marred by fans throwing debris onto the field.

The contest was interrupted for about 10 minutes in the bottom of the seventh inning when the fans started throwing debris after the umpires awarded the Rockies a double play. They ruled that Arizona rookie Justin Upton interfered with second baseman Kaz Matsui, who was attempting to make a relay throw to first base.

"It was just fans being upset," Hawpe said. "It's too bad that a few bad fans can spoil it for all the good fans. But I understand that the fans were pointing out the ones involved, so it was OK."

Francis (1-0), who pitched seven scoreless innings here on May 23 and yielded two runs over six innings with eight strikeouts in the opener of the NLDS against Philadelphia, put together another fantastic performance.

"He's been unbelievable this year," Hawpe said. "He is the definition of a winner. He'll do whatever it takes to win a game."

The 17-game winner in the regular season allowed a run, seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts in improving to 5-0 all-time at Chase Field.

"I've had some success here in the past," Francis said. "You take it for what it is. I just try to go out and execute."

"He's seen a lot of these hitters and has good command," said Colorado manager Clint Hurdle when asked to explain Francis' success against Arizona. "He has a slow heart beat and that doesn't hurt."

The lefthander lost to Webb and the D-Backs, 4-2, on September 28 - the Rockies' lone loss in their last 19 games - but got the best of the 2006 Cy Young Award winner this night.

"We got out to the lead and it's more comfortable pitching with a lead," Francis said about his rematch with Webb. "I just tried to get ahead. We also had tremendous defense."

Webb, who entered 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA this season against Colorado, struggled again against the Rockies and, as usual, Hawpe had a lot to do with it.

The Rockies' right fielder entered 9-for-15 with three homers and 11 RBI this season against the D-Backs ace and added a two-out, two-run single during a three-run third and another base hit in the sixth.

"I am a low-ball hitter. I probably hit that pitch better then I do the high ones," said Hawpe, trying to explain his success against Webb. "He is a sinkerball pitcher and keeps the ball down. He is as good as there is in this league. He is really tough, he keeps coming at you so it is really fun to go up and battle against him.

Webb (0-1) lasted six shaky innings in the biggest start of his career, being charged with four runs and seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts among his 98 pitches.

"I felt like I had pretty good stuff and was making pitches. To give up that many hits and that many runs when you have your good stuff is kind of a waste," Webb said. "To give up three runs in the one inning on not one hard it ball is frustrating."

After surrendering a first-inning run, Francis cruised until Webb singled with two outs in the fifth and Chris Young worked a walk, but Francis regrouped and struck out a red-hot Stephen Drew on a 3-2 fastball after the Arizona shortstop fouled off two pitches to end the frame.

Drew entered the at-bat 8-for-16 in the postseason.

Francis got his second double play of the night in the sixth and a controversial third in the seventh that prompted debris to be thrown onto the field, leading to the Rockies being taken off the field.

After a leadoff double by Chris Snyder, Francis hit Upton with a pitch on his left thigh, drawing a sneer toward the mound by the 20-year-old rookie.

On a ground ball to third hit by Augie Ojeda, Upton went in hard at second base, hit the bag, but popped up, threw his right arm out and rolled Matsui off his feet.

The umpires ruled that Upton interfered with Matsui, who was attempting to make a relay throw to first base.

"You had an obvious intent on the part of the runner to break up the double play and when it turns into intentional that is when he is out for interference," second base umpire Larry Vanover said. "Once he got up to the base I thought he threw his hip up into the guy and his intent is not to get to the base.

"Obviously I was surprised by the call because I thought I was playing the game of baseball," Upton said. "I went in and that is what I am suppose to do, but the umpire made the decision and there is nothing I can do about it."

Arizona manager Bob Melvin came out and argued as the fans, mostly in the upper deck in right field, pelted the field with plastic water bottles and other debris.

"I thought (Upton) went out of his way to make contact," Hurdle said. "We were tired of getting water-bottled, so we pulled them off. We needed to make a statement that enough is enough."

"I felt like he (Upton) could get the base so obviously I didn't agree with the call," Melvin said.

The actions prompted Rockies manager Clint Hurdle to pull his club off the field for about three minutes.

"Obviously, we don't condone that," Melvin said. "You don't want stuff being thrown on the field. We're not in favor of that."

"You just try not to let it affect you," said Francis about the fans throwing debris onto the field. "You just try to stay focused."

After order was restored, pinch hitter Jeff Cirillo beat out a perfect bunt down the third base line, ending the night for Francis. Matt Herges entered and walked Young to load the bases before Jeremy Affeldt retired Drew on a first-pitch flyout to right field.

"We had some situations where we could have done some damage and we didn't," Melvin said. "We had a situation where with a base hit we could have knocked a couple in but we just didn't get it done."

Brian Fuentes pitched a scoreless eighth and Manny Corpas closed out the ninth for Colorado, which will try to take a 2-0 lead on Friday.

The Rockies didn't scorch the ball, but scored three times off Webb in the decisive third inning to take a 4-1 lead.

Willy Taveras, who hadn't played since September 8 because of a right quadriceps injury, started the uprising with a one-out single to left. Showing why Colorado added him to the roster for this series, the speedster swiped second base and scored easily when Matsui fought off a high sinker and dumped it into left field for a base hit.

"I just know that the lineup we threw out there the last time against him didn't work. I just thought we needed to go at them a different direction," Hurdle said. "We did with some of the people that have had some success against him. You can get a quick run with Willie and Kaz at the top putting extra pressure on them."

Matt Holliday followed by rolling a ball down the third base line that hit the bag. After Todd Helton flied out and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, Garrett Atkins walked to load the bases.

Hawpe, who entered the at-bat 9-for-20 with the bases loaded this season, then looped a 0-1 breaking ball into right field, plating two runs to cap the frame.

"In that situation I just try to think that the pitcher is the one in trouble," Hawpe said. "I think he is the one in trouble and he has to make the right pitch and I'm in the driver's seat."

Colorado added an insurance run in the seventh when Diamondbacks reliever Juan Cruz walked leadoff man Yorvit Torrealba, who advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on a sacrifice. After Taveras struck out, Matsui bounced a two-hopper off first baseman Conor Jackson's body for an error and a 5-1 lead.

Arizona opened the scoring in the first inning when Drew grounded a single that got under first baseman Helton's glove and Eric Byrnes hit a first-pitch fastball inside into the left field corner, scoring Drew for a quick 1-0 lead.

Colorado squared the contest in the second after loading the bases with nobody out, but were limited to just one run when Troy Tulowitzki bounced into a double play, plating one run, and Torrealba struck out.








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

    BATTERIES: COL - JEFF FRANCIS, MATT HERGES (7TH), JEREMY AFFELDT (7TH), BRIAN
    FUENTES (8TH), MANNY CORPAS (9TH) AND YORVIT TORREALBA
    ARI - BRANDON WEBB, JUAN CRUZ (7TH), DOUG

    Oct 11 11:51 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY CONOR JACKSON ALLOWED YORVIT TORREALBA TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K MATSUI ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 5
    ARIZONA 1 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: M HOLLIDAY (.333, 1-FOR-3)

    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 10:41 PM
  • Yankee82 Rockies #1

    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 10:01 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRAD HAWPE SCORED KAZ MATSUI AND MATT HOLLIDAY.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, B HAWPE ON FIRST, G ATKINS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    ARIZONA 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T TULOWITZKI (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 9:31 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KAZ MATSUI SCORED WILLY TAVERAS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K MATSUI ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    ARIZONA 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: M HOLLIDAY (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 9:24 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    TROY TULOWITZKI HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING TODD HELTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G ATKINS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 1
    ARIZONA 1 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: Y TORREALBA (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 9:03 PM
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    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 8:56 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ERIC BYRNES SCORED STEPHEN DREW.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E BYRNES ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 0
    ARIZONA 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C JACKSON (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 8:50 PM
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    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 1:43 PM
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    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 11:08 AM
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    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 10:46 AM
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    Rockies vs. DiamondbacksOct 11 10:01 AM