DENVER (AP) -- With the National League's two worst pitching
staffs on the mound, Jeff Francis brought some order to Coors
"I felt comfortable out there," the rookie left-hander said.
"And the run support helped."Backed by a pair of home runs by Preston Wilson, Francis and the
Colorado Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds 12-4 on Friday night.Francis (5-2) remained unbeaten at Coors Field, improving to 6-0
in seven career starts at home. He allowed just two runs on four
hits -- including solo shots by Austin Kearns and Rich Aurilia -- and
struck out six over six innings."Jeff gave us what we needed most -- a solid outing when two
pitchers in our bullpen weren't available," Colorado manager Clint
Hurdle said. "To give up two runs in this park is something
special."Wilson had four hits and drove in three to pace an 18-hit night
for the Rockies. Clint Barmes had three hits and three RBI, and
Luis Gonzalez also added three hits.The game began 32 minutes late due to wind and rain. There were
several tornado warnings in the area before the first pitch, but
the weather didn't play a significant role thereafter.The Rockies took control with a six-run sixth off relievers Ryan
Wagner and Ricky Stone to take a 10-2 lead. Brad Hawpe had a
pinch-hit two-run single in the inning and Barmes added a bloop RBI
single."We had a shot until the sixth inning," Cincinnati manager
Dave Miley said. "Nothing went right for us in that inning, and we
lost."Wagner induced three ground balls that could have been outs.
Instead, Barmes, Gonzalez and Wilson all reached base. Barmes and
Gonzalez came around to score."I got the ground balls, but not the outs," Wagner said.
"That's frustrating."Barmes gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run
single to center off Eric Milton (3-7). The lefty gave up four runs
on eight hits in five innings, raising his ERA to 7.06.Kearns cut the lead to 2-1 with a shot leading off the fourth.Wilson hit his first home run of the night leading off the
fifth, and Garrett Atkins added an RBI double later in the inning.Aurilia countered with a solo homer to left in the sixth to make
it 4-2.Wilson hit his second homer in the seventh, a two-run shot off
Stone for a 12-2 lead."I started getting into a groove on the last road trip," said
Wilson, who has hit safely in seven of his last eight games. "I'm
hitting the ball hard when I don't get a hit."Jason LaRue extended his hitting streak to 11 with an RBI single
in Cincinnati's two-run eighth.<
^Notes@: The game drew 20,035 despite the inclement weather. ... OF
Wily Mo Pena had a setback in the third game of his rehabilitation
assignment at Louisville when he strained his left quad muscle. ...
1B Todd Helton was a late scratch with flulike symptoms. ... RHP
Aaron Cook will make his scheduled rehab start Monday despite
soreness in his throwing shoulder. ... Rockies C J.D. Closser had
his first career stolen base.