Helton’s, Rockies’ bats come alive against Dodgers
DENVER – Todd Helton tied the franchise record for home runs and Jeff Francis pitched another fine game at Coors Field on Tuesday night, lifting the Colorado Rockies to a 6-1 victory over the injury-riddled Los Angeles Dodgers.Helton’s two-run homer in the seventh was the 258th of his career, tying Larry Walker for the team record. Helton finished with three hits and three RBIs, and struggling J.D. Closser hit a three-run homer off Odalis Perez (4-5) to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead in the second.That was more than enough for Francis (8-5), who allowed one run and 11 hits over 7 1-3 innings and extended his scoreless streak to 14 1-3 straight innings before an RBI groundout in the eighth made it 6-1. He struck out five.
Marcos Carvajal pitched the last 1 2-3 innings to wrap up a night in which neither team allowed a walk.Francis moved into the major-league lead for victories by a rookie and improved to 8-1 in 10 career starts at Coors Field, including two he made late last season. He combined with Byung-Hyun Kim and Joe Kennedy to make it 17 1-3 straight innings, dating to Sunday, in which Colorado starters haven’t allowed an earned run.The Dodgers continued their limp into the All-Star break, losing for the 15th time in 21 games on a night in which they placed Cesar Izturis on the disabled list with a sore hamstring and learned J.D. Drew will need eight weeks to heal the wrist he broke Sunday when he got hit by a pitch.Making things worse, Jeff Kent left in the sixth inning with a strained left hamstring; the Dodgers said his status was “day-to-day.”
Izturis was the 15th player Los Angeles has placed on the 15-day DL this season.The Dodgers didn’t have trouble getting on base, but couldn’t do much when they did. Everyone in the starting lineup but Kent had a hit, led by Oscar Robles, who had three hits. But the Dodgers left 10 runners on base and batted 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.Their problems in this game can be traced to Francis, one of the few pitchers out there who appears to have mastered the art of pitching at Coors Field. Six of his eight wins this year have come at the hitter-friendly park, and he lowered his home ERA to 3.18 this season.
Helton’s homer was just his seventh of the season, although with the three hits, he improved his average to .400 since June 21.Perez returned from a shoulder injury and in his first start since May 14, he allowed eight hits and four runs over five innings.Notes: After Monday night’s loss, the Rockies fell to 28-53, tying them with the 1993 expansion club for the worst record at the halfway point. … Chosen for the All-Star team, Izturis plans on attending the game even though he probably won’t be healthy enough to play.
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