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Colorado at St. Louis

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Colorado «0120200207130
St. Louis000000000061

Rockies humble Cardinals for rare road win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- For at least one game, the Colorado Rockies looked ready for the road.

Rookie Jeff Francis pitched three-hit ball for six innings and Garrett Atkins and Danny Ardoin homered Thursday night in a 7-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals that gave the Rockies only their sixth road victory of the season.

Francis (7-5) contributed two hits and scored twice for Colorado, a major league-worst 6-31 on the road.

"Now we can count our road wins on two hands," manager Clint Hurdle joked.

The start was the most feeble since the 1982 Twins went 5-32, and the Rockies had dropped five straight and 11 of 12 away from Coors Field while getting outscored 77-32.

Hurdle wasn't counting this one as a victory until pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez's two-run double in the eighth.

"Blowouts for other people aren't exactly blowouts for us," Hurdle said. "We don't take things for granted around here. They have a good ballclub and they can jump up and bite you any time."

Dan Miceli, Jay Witasick and David Cortes each pitched an inning and gave up a hit in finishing the Rockies' second shutout of the season, neither on complete games, and first since June 10 against the Tigers. It came in a game matching teams at the top and bottom of the NL standings.

Albert Pujols had a single and two walks to extend his hitting streak to 12 games for the Cardinals, who missed a chance to go to a season-best 22 games above .500. After hitting 16 home runs in the first six games of a 10-game homestand, the Cardinals advanced only two runners to second base against Francis and totaled six hits.

The 24-year-old left-hander entered 1-4 with a 7.21 ERA on the road compared with 5-1 and 3.50 at home. He struck out six and walked two, allowing three singles in the fourth but getting out of the jam when Pujols tried to score from third on a single to shallow left and was easily thrown out at the plate by Cory Sullivan to end the inning.

"It's a dream to have a game like that where a lot of things went my way," Francis said. "You can't really ask for anything more."

Francis, who entered the game 1-for-25 at the plate with 12 strikeouts, singled and scored in the third and doubled over the head of center fielder Jim Edmonds and scored in the fifth. That, plus the fact he threw 30 of his 98 pitches while retiring the heart of the Cardinals' order in the sixth, factored in his exit after that inning.

"I don't think he was gassed, but he had to run the bases and the offense hasn't really been a part of his game," Hurdle said. "He might give you a nice clean seventh and it all sounds nice and rosy, but again, it can go south on you."

Atkins hit his seventh homer off Jeff Suppan (7-7) in the second and Ardoin hit his first leading off the third. Suppan, whose four-inning outing matched his shortest of the season, also walked home a run in the third and Aaron Miles' RBI single with none out in the fifth chased him.

The Rockies were 9-for-20 against Suppan, who carried a two-hitter into the ninth in his last start against the Pirates. Suppan struck out three and walked two.

"I was trying to get in a groove, I was trying to get in a tempo," Suppan said. "But I kept putting leadoff runners on base."

Atkins, who added an RBI single off Cal Eldred in the fifth to put the Rockies ahead 5-0, is batting .531 (17-for-32) during an eight-game hitting streak with 11 RBI.

"I'm sure they're talking a little bit longer about him in those pregame meetings than they were earlier," Hurdle said. "He's given us an offensive jolt."

Notes

  • LF Reggie Sanders made a barehanded stab on Brad Hawpe's drive off the base of the wall in the fourth and made a strong throw to second, holding him to a single.
  • Pujols is batting .409 (18-for-44) during his hitting streak with four homers.
  • The Rockies were 12-15 in June, their fifth straight losing month. The Cardinals were 16-11 in June, their ninth straight winning month.
  • Todd Helton singled in the seventh and is 12-for-33 during a season-best nine-game hitting streak.
  • The Rockies are 28-27 at Busch Stadium.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Garrett Atkins' solo homer in the second inning is his seventh dinger of the season. (AP)
Garrett Atkins' solo homer in the second inning is his seventh dinger of the season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Colorado

J. Francis
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
Colorado

G. Atkins
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Colorado Rockies
Cory Sullivan, LF4120001 .308
Aaron Miles, 2B5011000 .280
Todd Helton, 1B4010122 .264
Preston Wilson, CF3001232 .255
Garrett Atkins, 3B4122001 .320
Bradley Hawpe, RF3120112 .291
Desi Relaford, SS4000013 .257
Danny Ardoin, C4221001 .283
Jeff Francis, P3220000 .107
    Dan Miceli, P0000000 .000
   a- Luis Gonzalez, PH1012000 .272
    Jay Witasick, P0000000 .000
    David Cortes, P0000000 .000
Totals3571374712 
a-doubled for Miceli in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jeff Francis (1, Suppan), Luis Gonzalez (10, Cali)
HR - Garrett Atkins (7, Suppan), Danny Ardoin (1, Suppan)
SH - Cory Sullivan (4)
RBI - Aaron Miles (15), Preston Wilson (43), Garrett Atkins 2 (36), Danny Ardoin (4), Luis Gonzalez 2 (14)
2-OUT RBI - Garrett Atkins (17), Luis Gonzalez 2 (6)
CS - Cory Sullivan (1, 3rd base by Suppan/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Cory Sullivan 1
Colorado Rockies
Jeff Francis (W,7-5) 6300260 5.01
Dan Miceli 1100110 0.00
Jay Witasick 1100010 2.30
David Cortes 1100000 2.95
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 99-60, Dan Miceli 20-13, Jay Witasick 16-8, David Cortes 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 4-7, Dan Miceli 1-1, Jay Witasick 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 22, Dan Miceli 5, Jay Witasick 4, David Cortes 4
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4000000 .289
Jim Edmonds, CF4010030 .286
Albert Pujols, 1B2010211 .339
Reggie Sanders, LF4000014 .281
Scott Rolen, 3B4010020 .246
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010002 .293
So Taguchi, RF4020010 .276
Yadier Molina, C2000100 .260
    Einar Diaz, C1000001 .250
Jeff Suppan, P1000000 .200
    Cal Eldred, P0000000 .000
   a- Hector Luna, PH1000000 .188
    Al Reyes, P0000000 .000
   b- Abraham Nunez, PH1000002 .312
    Carmen Cali, P0000000 .000
Totals320603810 
a-flied out for Eldred in the 5th
b-grounded out for Reyes in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jim Edmonds (19, Witasick), So Taguchi (7, Cortes)
SB - Albert Pujols (7, 2nd base off Francis/Ardoin), So Taguchi (4, 2nd base off Miceli/Ardoin)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Grudzielanek-Eckstein-Pujols, Rolen-Grudzielanek-Pujols, Suppan-Grudzielanek-Pujols, Pujols-Eckstein
PB - Yadier Molina 2 (6)
E - Albert Pujols (6, Miosplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan (L,7-7) 4954232 4.34
Cal Eldred 1100110 1.00
Al Reyes 2100010 2.01
Carmen Cali 2222120 10.50
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 76-50, Cal Eldred 13-9, Al Reyes 32-21, Carmen Cali 43-27
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 6-0, Cal Eldred 1-0, Al Reyes 4-1, Carmen Cali 2-2
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 20, Cal Eldred 4, Al Reyes 7, Carmen Cali 9
Game Information
Attendance - 44036
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Lazaro Diaz, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Jim Joyce