Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
  • My Scores
  • MLB
  • Golf
  • NFL

St. Louis at Colorado

Scoreboard
St. Louis000000000022
Colorado «21100210x7100

Francis' two-hit shutout cools off red-hot Cards

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

DENVER -- When Yadier Molina's bloop single glanced off Cory Sullivan's glove in the sixth inning, the center fielder leapt to his feet in frustration.

Left-hander Jeff Francis, who had been working on a perfect game to that point, let out a sigh and a slight smile.

"There's a lot of anxiety involved when you have something going like that. When that ball dropped, it's almost a relief," Francis said. "You know, just concentrate on winning the game and that load comes off your shoulders."

Francis rolled right along, tossing a two-hitter for his first shutout, and the Colorado Rockies slowed down the St. Louis Cardinals with a 7-0 victory Monday night.

"That," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said, "was a masterpiece."

The Cardinals had homered in a franchise-record 19 straight games but came nowhere near the wall against Francis, who uses a strikingly similar delivery on all four of his pitches: a two- and four-seam fastball, changeup and slider.

"He was throwing them all for strikes, too," Jim Edmonds said. "That makes for a tough night. He's one of those guys that hides the ball real well. He was throwing sneaky."

The Cardinals managed to get only five balls out of the infield, including Molina's single in the sixth and Albert Pujols' line-drive double in the seventh.

"He just worked us over," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He probably didn't even take a shower. I didn't see if he ever sweated. They probably could pitch him tomorrow. I hope he doesn't."

Francis (8-8) retired his first 15 batters and got Molina to chase a fastball cutting off the plate leading off the sixth. Molina got just enough wood on it to punch it over second base, and the only one with a chance at it was Sullivan, who dived and got his glove on the ball only to watch it scoot underneath him.

"That exact play went through my head right before he hit it," Sullivan lamented. "I thought, don't give up the bloop single on a changeup. Unfortunately, I was playing a step too deep and I just couldn't get there."

Francis, whose longest outing before Monday night was 7 2/3 innings, matched a career high with eight strikeouts and didn't walk a batter. He threw 129 pitches, including 10 to the final batter, Chris Duncan, who grounded out to first on a full count.

"I've never been so out of breath," Francis said.

Pujols doubled off Francis in the seventh but was stranded at third when second baseman Jamey Carroll made a diving stop of Juan Encarnacion's grounder up the middle to preserve the shutout.

Garrett Atkins and Clint Barmes homered for Colorado, which won for only the third time in 11 games since the All-Star break. The Cardinals, who had won six straight road games and four in a row overall, dropped to 8-3 since the break.

St. Louis rookie Anthony Reyes (2-4) allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Atkins staked Francis to a quick 2-0 lead in the first when he hit his 14th homer, a two-run shot that traveled an estimated 447 feet. Sullivan's sacrifice fly an inning later made it 3-0.

Barmes led off the third with a triple and scored when second baseman Hector Luna's relay got past third baseman Scott Rolen for a throwing error.

Reyes left after Torrealba's RBI triple made it 5-0 in the sixth, and Sullivan added his second sacrifice fly. Barmes, who has hit in 12 straight games, led off the seventh with his seventh homer.

The Rockies hope this performance jump-starts them for a nice 10-game homestand after a 2-8 trip.

"We didn't play well on the road and that was a brutal trip, but we didn't lose much ground," Sullivan said. "Now, we can move on."

And remember what might have been had he been playing a step closer against Molina.

Notes

  • The Cardinals' last seven-game road winning streak was July 18-30, 2004.
  • The shutout was the fourth by a Rockies pitcher this season (Jason Jennings twice and Josh Fogg), tying a franchise record set in 2001.
 
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.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Jeff Francis guns down the Cards with a career-high eight strikeouts through nine innings of work.  (AP)
Jeff Francis guns down the Cards with a career-high eight strikeouts through nine innings of work. (AP)

Players of the Game
Colorado

J. Francis
IP 9.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 0
K 8
Colorado

C. Barmes
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4000011 .303
Chris Duncan, LF4000010 .297
Albert Pujols, 1B3010010 .328
Scott Rolen, 3B3000001 .323
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000 .000
Juan Encarnacion, RF3000001 .284
Jim Edmonds, CF3000010 .255
Yadier Molina, C3010000 .220
Hector Luna, 2B3000021 .296
Anthony Reyes, P1000010 .091
    Josh Hancock, P0000000 .000
    Scott Spiezio, 3B1000010 .284
Totals28020084 
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (16, Francis)
SH - Anthony Reyes (1)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
E - Chris Duncan (2, ), Hector Luna (4, Wild throw)
St. Louis Cardinals
Anthony Reyes (L,2-4) 5.1966111 4.57
Josh Hancock 1.1111011 3.59
Tyler Johnson 1.1000010 5.14
Pitches-Strikes - Anthony Reyes 79-52, Josh Hancock 19-14, Tyler Johnson 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anthony Reyes 8-6, Josh Hancock 2-2, Tyler Johnson 3-0
Batters Faced - Anthony Reyes 25, Josh Hancock 6, Tyler Johnson 4
Colorado Rockies
Jamey Carroll, 2B4120003 .318
Clint Barmes, SS2221000 .237
Garrett Atkins, 3B4112001 .315
Matt Holliday, LF4000011 .321
Todd Helton, 1B4010000 .283
Brad Hawpe, RF3210101 .300
Yorvit Torrealba, C4121000 .243
Cory Sullivan, CF2012010 .278
Jeff Francis, P2000012 .103
Totals297106138 
Batting
2B - Jamey Carroll (16, An. Reyes), Brad Hawpe (19, An. Reyes)
3B - Clint Barmes (4, An. Reyes), Yorvit Torrealba (1, An. Reyes)
HR - Clint Barmes (7, Hancock), Garrett Atkins (14, An. Reyes)
SF - Cory Sullivan 2 (3)
SH - Clint Barmes 2 (12), Jeff Francis (1)
RBI - Clint Barmes (50), Garrett Atkins 2 (67), Yorvit Torrealba (25), Cory Sullivan 2 (16)
CS - Cory Sullivan (4, 2nd base by An. Reyes/Molina)
Team LOB - 4
Colorado Rockies
Jeff Francis (W,8-8) 9200080 3.69
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 129-88
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 12-7
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 29
Game Information
Attendance - 28830
Game Time - 2:16
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Travis Reininger, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Chuck Meriwether