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Cincinnati at Colorado

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Cincinnati (21-35)000000100161
Colorado (26-29) «20100001x480

Rockies 4, Reds 1

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DENVER -- Jeff Francis' pitching plan revolved around Ken Griffey Jr. Everything else, he figured, would fall into place.

"I focused on him," the Colorado left-hander said of the veteran slugger. "I wanted to give him a lot of different looks."

The plan worked as Francis allowed five hits over seven innings and Todd Helton hit a two-run homer to help the Colorado Rockies end a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.

Francis (5-4) struck out six and walked one in winning his third straight start. He struck Griffey the first two times he faced him.

"I was lucky too," Francis said. "He hit the ball hard the last time I faced him."

He ripped a line drive right at right fielder Brad Hawpe.

Rockies pitchers struck out Griffey three times, the first time this year Griffey has struck out three times in a game. Griffey wasn't around to discuss his 0-for-4 night, but manager Jerry Narron tipped his cap to Francis.

"Jeff Francis has pitched well all year for the Rockies," said Narron. " He did it again tonight and just kept us off balance."

"He's a location guy," Reds outfielder Jeff Conine said. "He had great location tonight."

Francis is 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last six starts, allowing eight earned runs in 44 innings. He has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last seven outings.

"His command has been top shelf without allowing a lot of hard contact," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's been ahead in most counts and when he's behind, he gets a lot of 2-0 outs."

Kazuo Matsui had two hits and scored twice for the Rockies.

Brian Fuentes picked up his 16th save in 17 chances.

Reds starter Kyle Lohse (2-7) nearly matched Francis, walking two and not allowing a hit after Matt Holliday's two-out single in the third inning until he left at the end of the sixth inning. He allowed three runs and five hits in losing for the seventh time in eight decisions.

"It's not surprising about Lohse because he has good stuff," Narron said. "Tonight he gave us some good innings."

Lohse had few regrets after the game. Only one, actually.

"The one pitch to Helton is the only pitch I wish I could take back," Lohse said.

Helton homered over the center-field fence on a 1-1 fastball with Matsui on in the first inning to put Colorado ahead 2-0. Matsui singled to center, stole second, and one out later, Helton hit his sixth home run of the year.

"With Francis on the mound, you want to give him a little breathing room if you can because he's throwing so well," Helton said. "You want to take as much pressure off as you can.

"You don't want to put him position of worrying about giving up a big hit in the late inning."

The Rockies added a run in the third inning on Matsui's hustle. With two outs, Matsui singled to right and scored all the way from first on Holliday's hit-and-run bloop single to right.

Francis retired the first 12 batters, striking out Griffey twice before Conine blooped a single in front of Holliday in left field to start the fifth inning.

Conine stole second with two outs. Edwin Encarnacion walked, but Francis got David Ross to ground out to the pitcher.

Cincinnati had a chance in the sixth when Lohse and Norris Hopper both singled to left to start the inning. But Francis struck out Brandon Phillips, Griffey lined to right and Conine grounded out to first.

Cincinnati broke through in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Alex Gonzalez and Encarnacion.

The Rockies made it 4-1 in the eighth inning on Ryan Spilborghs' leadoff double and a bunt single by Willy Taveras. Spilborghs scored from third when Mike Stanton threw the ball into right field.

Hurdle, who has been with the Rockies for 11 years, had one more thought on Francis.

"Take his last six starts and he's been on a nice streak," Hurdle said. "The kind we haven't seen around here in a long time from a starting pitcher."

Notes

The Reds optioned LHP Bobby Livingston to Triple-A Louisville. ... RHP Marcus McBeth was recalled from Louisville. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki left the game in the fifth inning with tightness in his right groin and was listed as day-to-day. ... Holliday has an 11-game hitting streak.

 
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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Players of the Game
Colorado

T. Helton
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Colorado

J. Francis
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 1
K 6
 
Cincinnati Reds
Norris Hopper, CF4010010 .308
Brandon Phillips, 2B4000012 .274
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4000032 .287
Jeff Conine, 1B4010002 .274
Adam Dunn, LF4010021 .251
Alex Gonzalez, SS4110012 .269
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3011101 .253
David Ross, C3000003 .202
Kyle Lohse, P2010000 .263
   a- Juan Castro, PH1000001 .143
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
Totals3316118  
a-flied out for Lohse in the 7th
Batting
2B - Alex Gonzalez (13, Francis), Edwin Encarnacion (6, Francis)
RBI - Edwin Encarnacion (22)
SB - Jeff Conine (3, 2nd base off Francis/Iannetta)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - A. Gonzalez-B. Phillips-Conine, A. Gonzalez-Conine, Encarnacion-B. Phillips-Conine, B. Phillips-A. Gonzalez
E - Mike Stanton (2, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Kyle Lohse (L,2-7) 6533231 4.58
Mike Stanton 2311010 5.23
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 95-59, Mike Stanton 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 8-5, Mike Stanton 1-2
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 23, Mike Stanton 7
Colorado Rockies
Willy Taveras, CF4010000 .320
Kaz Matsui, 2B4220000 .311
Matt Holliday, LF4011011 .345
Todd Helton, 1B2112101 .340
Troy Tulowitzki, SS2000010 .269
    Jamey Carroll, SS1000001 .170
Brad Hawpe, RF2020100 .300
Jeff Baker, 3B3000003 .213
Chris Iannetta, C3000010 .186
Jeff Francis, P2000010 .136
    Manuel Corpas, P0000000 .000
   a- Ryan Spilborghs, PH1110000 .320
    Brian Fuentes, P0000000 .000
Totals2848324  
a-doubled for Corpas in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Spilborghs (4, Stanton)
HR - Todd Helton (6, Lohse)
RBI - Matt Holliday (44), Todd Helton 2 (29)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Holliday (9), Todd Helton 2 (13)
SB - Kaz Matsui (9, 2nd base off Lohse/Ross)
Team LOB - 2
Colorado Rockies
Jeff Francis (W,5-4) 7511160 3.70
Manuel Corpas (H,13) 1000010 2.67
Brian Fuentes (S,16) 1100010 2.05
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 96-65, Manuel Corpas 12-10, Brian Fuentes 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 9-6, Manuel Corpas 1-1, Brian Fuentes 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 27, Manuel Corpas 3, Brian Fuentes 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30076
Game Time - 2:11
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Larry Poncino, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Jerry Meals