Rookie Jeff Francis looks to continue his surprising success at hitter-friendly Coors field when the last-place Colorado Rockies conclude a three-game series with the NL West-leading San Diego Padres.
Francis improved to 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last three outings overall after 7 1-3 strong innings in a 6-1 home win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
The left-hander gave up one run and 11 hits, struck out five and walked none to improve to 8-1 with a 3.01 ERA in 10 career starts at Coors Field. Six of his eight wins this year have come in Colorado. He suffered his lone home loss in a 15-5 defeat to the major league-leading Chicago White Sox on June 8.
“This isn’t unexpected. I showed last year I could pitch here,” said Francis, who boasts a 3.18 ERA at home this year. “So far I’m getting along with this park. I don’t have anything figured out. I’ve had a string of some good starts and things are going my way.”
The Rockies had lost five straight to San Diego before pulling out a 1-0 win Saturday in the lowest-scoring game in Coors Field history.
All-Star closer Brian Fuentes escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to earn his 12th save in 14 chances, and conclude the 28th shutout at the ballpark.
There had been three 2-0 games at the 11-year-old stadium. This was the 847th regular-season game at Coors Field, the most any stadium needed before hosting its first 1-0 game.
San Diego, which lost for the sixth time in 10 games, had scored 36 runs in three previous games at Colorado this season.
Pedro Astacio will make his Padres debut against his former team. The veteran right-hander signed a minor league contract with San Diego after being released by Texas on June 21.
Astacio owns the Rockies franchise record for career wins (53) and is 24-25 with a 7.24 ERA in 70 games at Coors. Only Rockies starter Jason Jennings (25) has more wins at the park.
Astacio struggled in a start at Triple-A Portland, but San Diego manager Bruce Bochy expects his experience at Colorado to help Sunday.
“The plan was to give him one start for Portland and then bring him up here.” Bochy said. “He was rusty, but he’s ready to go. He has a lot of experience pitching here, (but) more important is where he’s at with his stuff, how sharp he is.”