Jeff Francis will try to build off his first victory with Colorado in nearly two years this evening when the Rockies continue a four- game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
A 2002 first-round draft pick of the Rockies, Francis spent his first six seasons with Colorado -- missing all of 2009 due to injury -- before spending last season with Kansas City. The 31-year-old returned to the Rockies this season and is 1-1 with a 5.47 earned run average through five starts.
That first victory came on Friday versus the Padres as Francis threw six scoreless innings. He scattered three hits and a walk in the 82-pitch outing, earning his first win with the club since July 30, 2010. The left-hander is now just two victories shy of matching Jason Jennings for second on the club's all-time list with 58.
"When you get someone that goes out and pitches in the manner that Jeff Francis did, you're going to put yourself in a favorable position on most nights," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.
Francis has allowed three runs over his last three outings and will look to extend a three-game winning streak versus the Cardinals that dates back to July 24, 2006. The veteran is 5-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 10 career matchups with the Cards, all but one of those starts.
On the opposite end, St. Louis righty Joe Kelly will make just the fifth start of his career tonight when he opposes Francis.
Kelly picked up his first MLB win on June 22 at Kansas City, then did not factor into a 5-3 loss at Miami on Wednesday. Facing an NL opponent for the first time, the 24-year-old allowed two runs over six innings.
Kelly is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA on the season and will try to pitch St. Louis to a third straight win after it took last night's opener 9-3.
Allen Craig backed 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball from Kyle Lohse with a pair of homers and three RBI. Lohse, meanwhile, scattered nine hits and won his eighth game of the season.
"He just pitched. He did a little bit of everything, but most of it is just his efficiency, staying down and getting the ground balls when he needed to," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Lohse.
Matt Holliday added a home run and two RBI for the Cardinals, who won their second straight game on the heels of a three-game losing streak.
Rockies starter Josh Outman lasted just three innings, allowing two runs on two hits and five walks. Tyler Chatwood surrendered four runs on five hits and two walks over 2 1/3 frames of relief to take the loss.
"You can't pitch like that and expect to afford yourself an opportunity to beat a team like this," Tracy said.
Tyler Colvin had a two-run home run and Wilin Rosario hit a solo shot for Colorado, which dropped its third straight.
The Cardinals have won nine of their past 11 versus the Rockies, going 7-1 at home versus them in that time.