10/12/07 1:56 AM ET
Rockies Short Hops: Game 1
Francis earns second postseason victory, beating D-backs
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Jeff Francis surrendered a first-inning run before finding a groove and benefiting from a three-run third-inning that carried the Rockies to 5-1 win over the Diamondbacks. Frozen moment
Holding a three-run fifth-inning lead, Francis stirred the Arizona fans when he surrendered a two-out single to Brandon Webb and then walked Chris Young. But Francis quieted their rattle with a nine-pitch, inning-ending strikeout of Stephen Drew, who also flew out to end the seventh against Jeremy Affeldt with the bases loaded. Big number
12 -- Number of teams that have won Game 1 of the past 15 NLCS and advanced to the World Series. But this trend hasn't held true either of the past two years. Game balls
After surrendering Eric Byrnes' first-inning RBI single, the composed 27-year-old southpaw retired 12 of the next 14 batters that he faced. His second career postseason victory came with the assistance of double-play grounders that he induced during the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
Matsui drove in Colorado's first run and helped add an insurance run in the seventh when first baseman Conor Jackson mishandled his sharp, two-out grounder. The second baseman also turned an inning-ending double play while getting rolled by Mark Reynolds in the fourth and induced an interference call that resulted in a pivotal and hotly disputed seventh-inning twin killing.
Making his first appearance since straining his right quad on Sept. 8, Taveras utilized his speed to spark the third-inning uprising. He reached on a one-out single, stole second base uncontested and scored on Matsui's RBI single.
Sense of October
Phoenix's desert climate doesn't evoke images of October baseball. But with a comfortable breeze and late-arriving, capacity crowd, Arizona once again proved capable of providing a fitting postseason setting.
3 AB, 2 H, 2 RBIs
Comment: Hawpe entered the game with a .342 (13-for-38) career batting average against Webb and continued his success against the reigning Cy Young Award winner with a two-out, two-run single in the third inning.
6 2/3 IP, 1 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: While winning both of his two career postseason starts, Francis has worked 12 1/3 innings and surrendered three earned runs. In his past five starts at Chase Field, he's 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA.
"We have seen [Webb] a number of times. And you know patience, not just in baseball, but in a lot of different areas, usually has a tendency to work to your advantage. You can't just stand up and take things because he can paint and he can pitch." -- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
Ubaldo Jimenez's last appearance against the Diamondbacks was a gem that clinched a Wild Card tie for the Rockies. If he can provide a similar performance on Friday night, Colorado should be in good position to go home with a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.