Francis shaky early; Rockies fall to Cardinals
DENVER (AP) — Jeff Francis and Matt Holliday teamed up to take the Colorado Rockies to the World Series in 2007.
On Tuesday night, Holliday helped send Francis and the spiraling Rockies to another loss.
Holliday homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and Kyle Lohse worked through an erratic outing to win his fifth consecutive decision and lift the St. Louis Cardinals over the Rockies 11-6.
Josh Rutledge homered among his three hits, and Jordan Pacheco also had three hits for Colorado, which lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“As frustrating as it is, you just tell yourself it’s times like these that the times when you’re winning that much sweeter,” Francis said.
Francis (3-3) experienced the sweet times as the ace of the staff five years ago when the Rockies made their historic run through September and October to reach the Fall Classic for the only time in franchise history.
Holliday was Colorado’s big bat that season when he hit an NL-leading .340 with 36 home runs and 137 RBIs. He reminded the Rockies of that production on Tuesday night.
He hit a two-run double as part of a four-run first and added a two-run homer in the seventh to break open a tight game.
Holliday wasn’t the only Cardinals player to have a big night. Carlos Beltran and David Freese also homered and Allen Craig went 3-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs to help the Cardinals rebound from successive losses.
Lohse (11-2), who also beat the Rockies three weeks ago in St. Louis, gave up nine hits and five runs in six innings, breaking a string of 10 consecutive quality starts. He struck out five and walked two.
He got more than enough offensive support, however.
“Bottom line is 11 runs,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “That’s a big number.”
Francis went four innings, his second shortest outing since he lasted only 3 1-3 innings in his initial start on June 9 for the Rockies. He allowed six hits and five runs, struck out two and walked none.
Trailing 6-2 in the sixth, the Rockies pulled to within one on Rutledge’s three-run homer.
Reliever Adam Ottovino got his first major league hit, a single, with two outs. Eric Young Jr. followed with a single to right, and Rutledge followed with a drive over the left field wall for his third homer of the season.
“I thought we did a good job of getting back into the game, Rutledge with that big home run,” Tracy said. “I don’t think you can argue with six runs and 12 hits.”
But the Cardinals came right back in the seventh to rebuild a four-run cushion. Craig drew a one-out walk, and Holliday followed with a homer over the center field wall, his 19th shot of the year.
“He hit a pitch, as I watched it unfold, had pretty much beat him,” Tracy said. “But it gives you an idea of how strong a man he is. He took a ball (that was) back and forced it out to right field.”
One out later, Freese extended his hitting streak to 11 games by connecting for his 15th homer.
Craig singled for a third time in the eighth, scoring Skip Schumacher and pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter after they each singled and advanced on a sacrifice.
St. Louis jumped to a 4-0 lead before Francis, who had been 6-1 in 11 previous outings against the Cardinals, recorded an out.
Francis hit Daniel Descalso, the first batter he faced, with a pitch, and Craig followed with a single. Holliday scored them both with a double to the center field fence, and Beltran drove Francis’ first offering deep into the left field bleachers for his 24th home run.
“A couple of tough mistakes to some good hitters. I hit the guy, and Matt and Beltran hit some mistakes,” Francis said. “When guys took advantage of mistakes early in the game it put us in a big hole.”
The Rockies answered in their half of the first. Young led off with a double that went over the head of Holliday in left field.
One out later, Carlos Gonzalez brought him home with a single to left that extended his hitting streak at Coors Field to 29 games, one shy of Larry Walker’s team record, set during the 2002 season.
Michael Cuddyer followed with a run-scoring double to center.
St. Louis added single runs in the second and sixth innings. Schumacher tripled and scored on Craig’s single to right to put the Cardinals up 5-2, and St. Louis went ahead by four runs when Beltran doubled and scored on a single by Jon Jay.
Todd Helton had an RBI double for the Rockies in the ninth.
NOTES: Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler was a late scratch from the lineup after coming down with flulike symptoms. Young replaced him in the lineup. … Helton’s double was his 958th. He is tied with Fred McGriff for 45th place on baseball’s career list. … Holliday is 10-for-19 with three home runs and 11 RBIs against Colorado this season. … The Rockies’ Drew Pomeranz (1-6) faces the Cardinals’ Jake Westbrook (9-8) on Wednesday.
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