Rockies 4, Royals 2
DENVER (AP)—For one night, home runs weren’t the issue at Coors Field.
Jeff Francis pitched seven strong innings, and a pair of bases-loaded walks were the difference in a matchup between the two worst teams in the major leagues as the Colorado Rockies beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Saturday night.
“If we don’t get the help off the mound from (Francis) we might still be playing,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “Nine walks, a hit batter, seven hits and we scored only four runs in this ballpark,”
“For whatever reason he couldn’t find the strike zone,” Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. “He still gave us a quality enough start to give us a chance to win.”
Kansas City dropped to an AL-worst 25-48 with its fifth straight loss. The only major league team with a worse record is the Colorado (24-48).
Hernandez (5-8) walked a season-high seven in 5 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and four hits. Yet, he minimized the damage.
“He forced us to have a good outing from Francis,” Hurdle said. “And Francis gave it to us.”
Francis (6-5), who had lost three straight starts since beating Cincinnati on June 3, allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked one. He improved to 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA at Coors Field this season and 7-1 with a 3.29 ERA in his career at the hitter-friendly ballpark.
Francis credited a simple adjustment to his arm motion.
“I concentrated on worrying about my arm angle instead of everything in my delivery,” Francis said. “I thought about one thing instead of 100 things at once.”
Francis walked on a 3-2 pitch to force in the first run, Garabito took four straight balls and Garrett Atkins hit a sacrifice fly.
“It was hard today, I couldn’t throw strikes,” Hernandez said. “I gave up a walk to the pitcher, and in my career I’ve never not been able to throw strikes to a pitcher.”
: San Diego Chargers QB Drew Brees took batting practice before the game. … Emil Brown has a 12-game hitting streak. … The Rockies plan to have RHP Mike DeJean come in for a physical and a bullpen session on Sunday. He was released by the New York Mets on Monday.