Rox and roll: Colorado cruises to 6-1 win over Yankees
DENVER ” Jeff Francis struck out a career-best nine in seven solid innings, and Matt Holliday homered and drove in three runs to lead the Colorado Rockies past the New York Yankees 6-1 on Wednesday night.
By taking the first two games, the Rockies won a club record sixth straight series and improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine series, the best stretch in franchise history.
They’re a major league-best 19-7 since May 22.
This series has been nothing like the one these teams had five years ago in the Yankees’ only other visit to Coors Field when several records were set that stand to this day, including most runs in a three-game series (70) and most runs by an opposing team (41).
This time, the Bronx Bombers bombed, managing to push across just one run in each of the first two games at Coors Field. In 2002, they reached double digits in all three games.
The Yankees arrived in Denver having won 14 of 17, but they’ve been befuddled by Colorado’s pitching staff.
For the second straight night, they couldn’t solve the starter and managed just one run off him in seven innings before the Rockies went to their on-a-roll bullpen.
Francis (7-5) allowed a run and five hits with one walk before giving way to LaTroy Hawkins.
Andy Pettitte (4-5) allowed just two singles before giving up Holliday’s two-out, two-run homer in the sixth that traveled an estimated 442 feet, clearing the left-field bleachers and bouncing off the concourse near the beer stands.
But it was the Rockies who would end the inning screaming at the umpire.
Todd Helton followed Holliday’s shot with a double and appeared to score on Garrett Atkins’ single, but home plate umpire Tim Welke called Helton out on Hideki Matsui’s throw although television replays showed Helton tapped the plate with his hand before Jorge Posada tagged him.
Pettitte couldn’t get out of the seventh, though, surrendering an RBI single to Willy Taveras and a two-run triple to Kaz Matsui that made it 5-1 and ended his night.
Holliday greeted Luis Vizcaino with a run-scoring single and Pettitte ended up allowing six earned runs and nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.
Derek Jeter had broken a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when he sliced a double down the left-field line, scoring Melky Cabrera, who had doubled to end a string in which Francis had retired 11 straight batters.
Jeter, who extended his hitting streak to 14 with a first-inning single, lined a 1-1 pitch over the third base bag and into the left-field corner.
The Yankees had never faced Francis and just as manager Joe Torre predicted, they had trouble picking up his pitches, particularly his changeup.
They put two runners on base in the second but Andy Phillips, called up from the minors Tuesday, grounded into an inning-ending double play, and Francis sent the Bombers down in order the next three innings.
Pettitte was having just as much success in silencing the Rockies’ bats, allowing just two hits, including a historic single by Helton in the second, through the first five innings.
Helton’s opposite-field hit made him just the fifth active player to collect 1,000 hits in one ballpark, joining Jeter, who has 1,116 hits at Yankee Stadium, Frank Thomas, Garret Anderson and Sammy Sosa.
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