Share “Francis latest Rockies starter to shine in...”

Francis latest Rockies starter to shine in loss

Associated Press Published: September 7, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jeff Francis helped pitch the Colorado staff into the franchise's record book.

His gem just wasn't enough for a win.

Francis tossed 5 2-3 scoreless innings only to earn a tough-luck no-decision when the offense again failed to deliver the big hit. Nate Schierholtz hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Rockies on Friday night.

The Rockies set a team record with 36 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, a streak that ended when the Phillies scored twice in the seventh. The Rockies also tied a club record for scoreless innings in relief (20) until Carlos Torres gave up two runs in the seventh.

Those pitching lines seem like they should belong to a staff in the pennant race.

Instead, the Rockies lost their third straight game, the previous two by 1-0 scores in Atlanta.

In both losses to Atlanta, the only run was unearned — the first time a team has won consecutive games that way in more than 28 years.

"You can't fault our pitching, I can tell you that," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "(It's) phenomenal in relation to where we've been in the earlier part of the season."

Staked to a 2-0 lead in the first, Francis had one of his best outings of the season. He struck out a season-high seven, his most in a game since July 20, 2010.

Francis escaped a huge jam in the first when he got Domonic Brown swinging at a curve in the dirt for strike three to leave the bases loaded.

The Rockies had only five hits after the first and failed to score again.

"There's no secret how well we can hit as a team," Francis said. "That's not something that's going to continue what we've done the last three or four games. As long as we keep throwing the ball, keep us in the game, these guys are going to bust out."

Francis looked like the ace who won 17 games in 2007 and baffled the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS. The soft-tossing lefty beat Cole Hamels in that game, spoiling Philadelphia's return to the postseason after a 14-year absence. Francis allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out eight in a 4-2 win at Citizens Bank Park. The Rockies swept the Phillies en route to reaching the World Series.

Continue reading this story on the...