I do love a good Jeff Francis performance, and this was about as good as it gets. He gave up a run early, as is his tendency, but settled in without a problem and pitched 5 scoreless innings before allowing another run in the 7th and getting the hook. Both runs scored on solo homers, the first by Jason Kubel and the second by Miguel Montero, and beyond that Francis allowed just 4 baserunners. He also struck out 4, a solid number for him. And, most likely due to the off-day today, he was allowed 97 whole pitches! And showed just what he’d do if he was allowed that many on a regular basis. The man deserves better than this team can give him. I hope he doesn’t know that so he’ll stay around.
Lest we forget the bullpen, they did their thing as well, and without them this game would not have come out as it did. Working with a slim 2-run lead, Adam Ottavino, Matt Belisle, and Rafael Betancourt each pitched a hitless inning. The only baserunner after Francis departed reached on a walk allowed by Betancourt with 2 outs in the 9th. And the next batter, Chris Young, struck out on 4 pitches to end the game.
The offense probably wasn’t as good as it should have been in light of D-back Trevor Cahill‘s performance, but they still made enough happen to squeak by. It took just 3 pitches for the Rockies to score their first run, on a triple by Dexter Fowler and a sacrifice fly by Marco Scutaro. Scutaro actually gets credit for 3 of the 4 runs the Rox scored, because he also hit a 2-run double in the 3rd. That was a fortunate situation, too, because the nightly baserunning error belongs to Josh Rutledge for thinking he could go from 2nd to 3rd on Francis’s bunt. He could not, so that erased a runner in scoring position and replaced him with a pitcher standing on 1st. Scutaro’s clutch hitting kept that mistake from being significantly more costly.
In the 4th inning, Wilin Rosario hit a solo shot that solidified the lead for the good guys. It’s a little depressing that nobody managed to come up with anything from that point on, but when the pitching is this good, it’s okay. A win is a win. I just wish I believed in our pitchers enough to think that this could happen again any time soon.
The Rockies head home today and play the Cincinnati Reds this weekend.