St. Louis at Colorado

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St. Louis (20-28)000000020252
Colorado (24-27) «10002030x6110

Rockies stay hot, win sixth straight on strong outing from Francis

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DENVER -- Jeff Francis doesn't want to analyze why he's pitching so well in May. The Colorado Rockies feel the same way about their six-game winning streak.

Francis allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings as the Rockies continued on their longest winning streak since 2002 with a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

"I think we've always expected this out of ourselves," said Francis, who is 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in May. "Nobody motivates us more than ourselves. We're not out here winning so they're not writing bad things about us."

The Rockies had come under fire before their hot streak. Not that manager Clint Hurdle has paid any attention to the criticism.

"I don't read the papers," Hurdle said. "I've heard rumblings. But you talk about staying focused on the game at hand."

Francis (4-4) can't explain why the Rockies have broken out of their funk, only saying the team has started combining their pitching and hitting.

"Since I've been here, the biggest problem has been putting it together for a stretch," Francis said. "It's what we've expected. We're not satisfied at six."

Francis had a shutout going into the eighth when Aaron Miles doubled with two outs and So Taguchi hit a two-run homer to left, his first of the season.

It was Francis' only mistake of the game.

"He did what he does with pitches like that," Francis said.

Miles was impressed with his former teammate.

"Everybody has the book on him and everybody has the tape," Miles said. "When he's pitching where he wants to, he's really tough. It's why he fast-forwarded through the minor leagues -- nobody could hit him there.

"He had a little bit of trouble in the beginning of his career here, but it looks like he's settling into a pretty good pitcher."

Hurdle pulled Francis after So Taguchi's homer, feeling Francis didn't have anything left, even after only 99 pitches.

Francis agreed.

"I was pretty exhausted," said Francis, who threw 14 scoreless innings before Taguchi's homer. "I could feel the end coming out there."

Brad Hawpe had a two-run homer in the seventh and Matt Holliday had a solo homer in the first, his ninth. Kaz Matsui scored two runs on two singles and Willy Taveras finished 2-for-4 with two stolen bases.

"I think we're expecting to come up with the big plays in big situations," Holliday said. "We're having fun."

The Cardinals continue their road woes, having dropped 11 of their last 13 away from Busch Stadium.

"This game, we never really got it going," Miles said.

Francis worked his way out of a two-out jam in the sixth. He gave up singles to Miles and Taguchi and then pitched around Albert Pujols to load the bases. Scott Spiezio hit into an inning-ending force play at second.

"We made a lot of outs that were not quality outs," manager Tony La Russa said. "That's how I see today's game."

The Rockies see it as another step in the right direction. The team hasn't won seven games in a row since September 1998.

Kip Wells (2-9) gave up 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings and struck out three. The Cardinals have been outscored 51-15 in his last seven starts.

"It was a battle the whole time," Wells said of his outing. "Obviously I had men on base pretty much every inning."

Pujols' 11-game hitting streak was snapped with an 0-for-3 afternoon.

Francis sparked a two-run fifth inning with a one-out double to right-center, his first extra base hit since 2005. He scored on Matsui's RBI single to left. When asked about his speed around third, Francis just rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, right," he said.

As for his recent success on the mound, he doesn't want to dwell on it.

"I've always felt like I could go out here and win a ball game," Francis said. "Even if I'm in a slump, I have confidence I'm going to come out of it. When I'm pitching well, like now, it's easy to roll with it."

Notes

  • Reliever Manuel Corpas left town to attend a funeral in Panama. He's expected back Wednesday.
  • David Eckstein and Scott Rolen got Monday off to heal. Eckstein missed his second straight game with tightness in his back. Rolen suffered a slight concussion Sunday when he collided with Washington's Dmitri Young at first base.
 
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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Colorado's Jeff Francis works into the eighth inning and allows just five hits in the win.  (US Presswire)
Colorado's Jeff Francis works into the eighth inning and allows just five hits in the win. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Colorado

J. Francis
IP 7.2
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 3
St. Louis

S. Taguchi
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

Related Video

St. Louis Cardinals
Aaron Miles, SS4120001 .293
So Taguchi, CF4122000 .256
Albert Pujols, 1B3000100 .297
Scott Spiezio, 3B4000003 .275
Juan Encarnacion, RF4000000 .227
Ryan Ludwick, LF4000030 .217
Gary Bennett, C3000000 .214
Adam Kennedy, 2B3010000 .237
Kip Wells, P2000001 .263
    Kelvin Jimenez, P0000000 .000
   a- Yadier Molina, PH1000010 .276
    Troy Cate, P0000000 .000
Totals3225214  
a-struck out for Jimenez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Aaron Miles (4, Francis)
HR - So Taguchi (1, Francis)
RBI - So Taguchi 2 (7)
2-OUT RBI - So Taguchi 2 (5)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
PB - Gary Bennett (2)
E - Juan Encarnacion (1, Throwing), Aaron Miles (3, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Kip Wells (L,2-9) 6.11165132 6.20
Kelvin Jimenez 0.2000010 7.71
Troy Cate 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Kip Wells 103-65, Kelvin Jimenez 9-6, Troy Cate 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kip Wells 10-7, Troy Cate 1-2
Batters Faced - Kip Wells 32, Kelvin Jimenez 2, Troy Cate 3
Colorado Rockies
Willy Taveras, CF4120001 .312
    Steve Finley, CF1000000 .182
Kaz Matsui, 2B4221011 .316
Matt Holliday, LF4112001 .341
Brad Hawpe, RF4122010 .290
Garrett Atkins, 3B4010001 .220
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4020001 .272
Jeff Baker, 1B3000113 .219
Chris Iannetta, C4000014 .198
Jeff Francis, P3110003 .150
    Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .000
   a- Ryan Spilborghs, PH1000000 .333
    Jorge Julio, P0000000 .000
Totals36611514  
a-flied out for Ramirez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jeff Francis (1, Wells)
3B - Troy Tulowitzki (3, Wells)
HR - Matt Holliday (9, Wells), Brad Hawpe (6, Wells)
RBI - Kaz Matsui (8), Matt Holliday 2 (41), Brad Hawpe 2 (29)
2-OUT RBI - Kaz Matsui (7), Matt Holliday (8)
SB - Willy Taveras 2 (12, 2nd base off Wells/Bennett, 2nd base off Wells/Bennett)
Team LOB - 7
Colorado Rockies
Jeff Francis (W,4-4) 7.2522131 3.93
Ramon Ramirez 0.1000000 6.97
Jorge Julio 1000010 10.22
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 99-58, Ramon Ramirez 1-1, Jorge Julio 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 12-8, Ramon Ramirez 1-0, Jorge Julio 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 29, Ramon Ramirez 1, Jorge Julio 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31575
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Brian Gorman