DENVER (AP) -- Jeff Francis has moved quickly through Colorado's
farm system, finding success at each stop. Now he's doing it in the
big leagues -- at Coors Field, no less.
"I thought he showed tremendous poise out there again,"
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Particularly in the first inning.
Francis (2-2) pitched 5 1-3 scoreless in a 5-2 win over the
Padres last Sunday, his first career victory, but didn't seem to
have the same kind of stuff working early in this one.
But what could have been a big inning amounted to just one run.
Francis made a nice play to hold Loretta at third and still get a
double play on a comebacker, then struck out Rich Aurilia to end
Getting out of the jam seemed to spark Francis, who allowed just
one more hit until Greene led off the fifth inning with his 15th
homer to cut Colorado's lead to 5-2. The rookie left-hander was
lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom half after giving up two
runs and five hits.
"I just came in trying to do the things that have made me
successful: throwing strikes and keeping the ball down, and not
rushing, not trying to do too much," Francis said. "I think it
worked out good."
Francis was just one of several obstacles the Padres couldn't
overcome in what could be their most disheartening loss of the
Greene homered twice and has four in three games, but the rest
of the Padres were flat at a time when they need to be playing
Adam Eaton had trouble from the start and the Padres lost for
the eighth time in 11 games -- their fourth in a week to the
fourth-place Rockies -- and dropped 2½ games back in the NL
"This shouldn't happen this time of the year," Padres center
fielder Jay Payton said. "Every loss hurts and we know we have to
win almost every game."
Eaton (9-13) was shaky right away.
Mark Sweeney led off the first inning with a double, moved to
third on Luis Gonzalez's sacrifice and scored on Todd Helton's
single. Eaton also walked Jeromy Burnitz, but got a pair of
strikeouts to end it.
But, unlike Francis, Eaton couldn't gather himself.
He gave up three runs in the third inning on Vinny Castilla's
two-run double and a sacrifice fly by Holliday, and another in the
fourth on Gonzalez's RBI single. Barmes' bloop single in the fifth
inning knocked in another run and Sweeney followed with an RBI
single that made it 7-2.
Eaton was pulled for a pinch hitter the next inning after giving
up seven runs and a career-high 12 hits in five innings.
"Eaton had buzzard's luck," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
"Not many hard hit balls, but a lot that found holes."
But it wasn't just Eaton.
His replacement, Mike Bynum, walked the bases loaded in the
sixth inning and was pulled without getting in out. Holliday and
Barmes followed with a pair of two-run doubles off Steve Watkins to
push the lead to 11-2.
The Rockies finished with a season-high for hits in a
nine-inning game, one short of their total in a 12-inning game
against Pittsburgh on May 11. It also was the most San Diego had
allowed this season.
Garrett Atkins hit his first career homer, a two-run shot in the
seventh inning, Barmes was 3-for-5 and every position player had a
hit for Colorado, which has won seven of 10 -- all against teams
still in the playoff race.
Colorado's bullpen even pitched well, a rarity of late. Three
relievers combined to allow just two hits in four innings after the
bullpen had blown four straight saves, including one in a 10-4 loss
"We needed to show up big today after the game getting away
from us last night and our team showed up well today," Hurdle
Castilla has 997 career RBI. ... Players had trouble with
the sun all game. CF Burnitz was called for an error after losing a
ball second inning and Colorado's Todd Greene got a double in the
fifth when Giles couldn't find a ball in right. ... Helton walked
three times and has 113 for the season, breaking the team record of
111 he set last year. ... Eaton is 1-4 against Colorado this
season. His previous high for hits allowed was 11, mostly recently
against Florida on Aug. 21.