Francis gives up three hits in eight innings to beat Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) -- After improving to 6-1 lifetime against Arizona
on Sunday afternoon, Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis could not
explain why he pitches so well against the Diamondbacks.

"I've had some rough ones against them," he said. "Especially
in this building [Chase Field] I think I've had some rough ones."

Sunday's start wasn't one of them. Francis gave up three hits in
eight strong innings to help the Colorado Rockies beat the
error-prone Diamondbacks 6-1.

Francis (12-11) struck out five and did not walk a batter as
Colorado snapped a three-game losing streak. His six wins against
Arizona are the most against any opponent in his two-plus major
league seasons. He has a career 3.74 ERA against the Diamondbacks.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said he considered allowing
Francis, who threw 97 pitches, to go after his second career
complete game. But Hurdle decided to give closer Brian Fuentes an
inning of work after three days off.

"[Francis] pitched outstanding," Hurdle said. "You weigh one
against the other. I try to do what's best for the team."

The clubs returned to Chase Field for a game that began less
than 14 hours after the end of Saturday night's game, a 16-inning
7-6 Arizona victory. The Diamondbacks looked like they had
overslept their wake-up call. They committed a season-worst four
errors, three in a disastrous second inning.

After Colorado took a 1-0 second-inning lead on back-to-back
doubles by Baker and Brad Hawpe, Arizona committed three errors in
the space of two batters.

With one out and runners at first and second, Francis bunted to
Diamondbacks pitcher Miguel Batista, who was charged with an error
when he couldn't pick up the ball in time to make a throw to first.

The next batter, Kazuo Matsui, grounded to first base. Conor
Jackson saw the ball bounce off his glove for a fielding error, and
then he threw it past Batista, who was covering first. Two runs
scored, with Matsui receiving credit for an RBI fielder's choice.

"I've got to make that play, there's no doubt about it," said
Jackson, whose 11 errors are third-most on the team. "It just kind
of popped out."

Arizona manager Bob Melvin said the inning deflated his team,
which had won three straight.

"We kicked it around, and psychologically that can demoralize
you a little bit, especially the way Francis is pitching," Melvin

That was all Batista (10-7) allowed in six innings. He gave up
three runs, one earned, and three hits. Batista, who walked three
and struck out three, has one victory in his last 11 starts.

The three runs were all the support Francis needed. Mixing
breaking balls and fastballs, he kept the Diamondback hitters
off-balance all afternoon.

Francis gave up only a double to Eric Byrnes in the second, a
triple to Orlando Hudson in the fifth and a single to Luis Gonzalez
in the seventh. Hudson scored on Chris Snyder's bouncer to third
base to cut Colorado's lead to 3-1.

It was a strong showing for Francis, who had allowed 10 hits in
each of his last three starts.

"He won't ever tell you, but I think he's proud of himself
after his performance today," Hurdle said.

Colorado went up 5-1 on Baker's two-run homer off reliever Greg
Aquino in the eighth. It was the second career homer for Baker, who
was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs Sept. 8.

Arizona was charged with its fourth error when pitcher Enrique
Gonzalez made a throwing error in the ninth inning.

Game notes
Luis Gonzalez received standing ovations as he came to bat
throughout the weekend. He finished the game 1-for-4. ... 10 of
Arizona's last 13 games are against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San
Diego Padres, who are battling for the NL West title. The
Diamondbacks open a three-game series at San Diego on Tuesday
night. ... Arizona turned its 160th double play this year, a club