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Colorado at Atlanta

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Colorado (56-52) «2200003029130
Atlanta (57-53)000100001282

Francis solid as Atkins, Rockies batter Smoltz

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- Since early May, Jeff Francis has been nearly perfect. He wouldn't take all the credit, however, calling himself fortunate instead.

Garrett Atkins hit a three-run home run to back Francis and the Colorado Rockies beat the Atlanta Braves 9-2 on Friday night.

Francis (12-5) allowed a run and six hits in six innings. The left-hander, who has won seven straight decisions, didn't walk any and struck out eight. He's 7-0 in his last 10 starts and 11-1 in his last 17.

After a 1-4 start, his only loss since then was 4-2 on June 8 at Baltimore.

"Every win is satisfying. Our offense has bailed me out on several occasions. Like tonight. It all adds up to what it is," said the 26-year-old left-hander.

"I made the right pitches. I had a good fastball so I could be aggressive. To get four runs in the first two innings off (John) Smoltz is huge. It takes the pressure off," said Francis.

"He's been on a nice role," said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. "He showed up big for us tonight. He made big pitches when he needed to, didn't give up any walks and had good command."

Kazuo Matsui went 3-for-5 and scored three runs for the Rockies.

Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run in the ninth, his third in three games since being traded to Atlanta from Texas.

The Rockies, who have won five of six, moved a season-high four games over .500 (56-52) for the first time since finishing a sweep of the New York Yankees on June 21, before going on a 1-9 road trip.

Colorado scored two unearned runs in the opening inning off Smoltz (10-6) when Teixeira booted a two-out, bases loaded grounder off the bat of Brad Hawpe, scoring Willy Taveras, who doubled and Matsui, who had singled.

"I pride myself on defense, so I'm more upset about not making plays than striking out with men on base," said Teixeira.

Colorado added two more runs in the second on a two-out double by Matt Holliday, scoring Matsui and Yorvit Torrealba, who reached on singles, for a 4-0 lead.

The three-run homer by Atkins in the seventh made it 7-1 and ended the night for Smoltz. Atkins went 3-for-5, including a double in the third and a single in the ninth.

"I've been feeling good the last few games. I'm just trying to keep it simple," said Atkins. "It's just one of those things where you're feeling good."

Troy Tulowitzki added a two-run single in the ninth.

Smoltz allowed seven runs -- five earned -- and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five.

"I kept us in the game in a game that I did not have any rhythm whatsoever," said Smoltz.

The cooled-off Braves, losers of two in a row after winning three, had scored in double figures in their previous four games, getting 49 runs on 68 hits.

"Good pitching beats good hitting every time. If you don't make good pitches, this team will crush you," said Hurdle.

Teixeira, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, wasn't surprised the Braves had an off night at the plate.

"Our offense has been scoring runs. We were bound to have a night like this, where a good pitcher shut us down," he said.

The Braves run off Francis came after Chipper Jones doubled to open the fourth and went to third on a single by Teixeira. Andruw Jones then hit into a double play, scoring Chipper Jones.

Notes

  • Atkins has 14 RBI in his last 11 games and 70 on the season.
  • Braves SS Edgar Renteria was placed on the 15-day DL after spraining his right ankle in the eighth inning of Thursday night's 12-11, 14 inning loss to Houston on a one-hop liner by Ty Wigginton. He was hitting .336 with 11 homers and 53 RBI. He was replaced by rookie Yunel Escobar.
  • The Braves signed former major league pitcher Ryan Drese to a minor league contract. He had a 34-39 record and 5.31 ERA in parts of six seasons with Cleveland, Texas and Washington. He underwent Tommy John surgery in April, 2006.
  • Smoltz got career strikeout 2,900, fanning Holliday for his fifth of the game.
 
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, whose three-run shot is the big blow, has 14 RBI in his last 11 games.  (AP)
Garrett Atkins, whose three-run shot is the big blow, has 14 RBI in his last 11 games. (AP)

Players of the Game
Colorado

G. Atkins
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Colorado

J. Francis
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 8
 
Colorado Rockies
Willy Taveras, CF5120011 .317
Kaz Matsui, 2B5330012 .290
Matt Holliday, LF5122023 .338
    Cory Sullivan, LF0000000 .325
Todd Helton, 1B3100222 .293
Garrett Atkins, 3B5233003 .271
Brad Hawpe, RF2000300 .288
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4022103 .274
    Matt Herges, P0000000 .000
Yorvit Torrealba, C5110014 .277
Jeff Francis, P3000012 .154
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
   a- Jeff Baker, PH1000001 .214
    Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .000
    Jamey Carroll, SS0000000 .232
Totals38913768  
a-flied out for Affeldt in the 8th
Batting
2B - Willy Taveras (12, Smoltz), Matt Holliday 2 (38, Smoltz, Cormier), Garrett Atkins (25, Smoltz)
HR - Garrett Atkins (16, Smoltz)
RBI - Matt Holliday 2 (88), Garrett Atkins 3 (70), Troy Tulowitzki 2 (49)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Holliday 2 (23), Garrett Atkins 3 (23)
SB - Kaz Matsui (19, 2nd base off Smoltz/McCann)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Atkins-Matsui-Helton
Colorado Rockies
Jeff Francis (W,12-5) 6611080 4.01
Jeremy Affeldt 1000010 2.72
Ramon Ramirez 1000110 9.00
Matt Herges 1211011 4.85
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 102-64, Jeremy Affeldt 12-8, Ramon Ramirez 20-13, Matt Herges 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 6-3, Ramon Ramirez 1-1, Matt Herges 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 23, Jeremy Affeldt 3, Ramon Ramirez 4, Matt Herges 5
Atlanta Braves
Yunel Escobar, SS4010021 .327
Kelly Johnson, 2B3020101 .299
Chipper Jones, 3B4110014 .334
    Lance Cormier, P0000000 .000
Mark Teixeira, 1B4121023 .299
Andruw Jones, CF4000022 .217
Jeff Francoeur, RF4000010 .303
Matt Diaz, LF4010010 .343
Brian McCann, C3010010 .265
    Corky Miller, C1000001 .500
John Smoltz, P2000011 .114
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
    Joey Devine, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Woodward, PH-3B1000000 .216
Totals34281111  
a-flied out for Devine in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chipper Jones (24, Francis)
HR - Mark Teixeira (16, Herges)
RBI - Mark Teixeira (56)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Escobar-Teixeira, Smoltz-Escobar-Teixeira, Escobar-Johnson-Teixeira
E - John Smoltz (1, Throwing), Mark Teixeira (2, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz (L,10-6) 6.2975451 3.04
Tyler Yates 0.1000000 5.01
Joey Devine 1100120 2.25
Lance Cormier 1322110 15.58
IBB - Helton by John Smoltz, by Helton
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 104-65, Tyler Yates 3-2, Joey Devine 28-15, Lance Cormier 27-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 7-7, Tyler Yates 1-0, Lance Cormier 1-0
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 32, Tyler Yates 1, Joey Devine 5, Lance Cormier 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37481
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - James Hoye