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Francis confident he can beat Phils

Francis confident he can win

DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis is keenly aware of how dangerous a lineup the Phillies have.

In three career regular-season starts against them, Francis is 1-1 with an 8.79 ERA. Last Sept. 13, Francis gave up eight runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 12-4 loss at Citizens Bank Park. In two regular-season starts, he posted a 15.12 ERA against the Phils.

Then again, Francis knows he can beat this hard-hitting team.

In Game 1 of last year's National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park, Francis held the Phils to two runs and four hits in six innings, and struck out eight. The Rockies won, 4-2, and went on to a three-game sweep.

So, all possibilities are on the table Tuesday night, when Francis starts the finale of the two-game series. The Rockies have lost two straight.

"It's a really good lineup, no question about it," Francis said. "Even without Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino [both on the disabled list] in that order, it's still a lineup you've got to watch out for.

"I've had my struggles. I've had good games. The difference in those games is I've gone out and made good pitches and stayed ahead in the count. If I can control where the ball's going, I should be able to keep us in the game."

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Jeff Francis (0-2, 5.89 ERA)
After three bad outings -- one wiped out mercifully by rain, two that counted -- Francis was in top form in his last start. He threw seven shutout innings, gave up three hits and struck out seven at San Diego, but wound up with a no-decision because Jake Peavy threw eight shutout innings and the game went 22 innings. Francis has not been pitching outside effectively, but that didn't matter against the Padres. He was getting strikes and bad swings on the outside part of the plate.

PHI: RHP Brett Myers (2-1, 3.96 ERA)
Myers has found a groove. After two subpar starts to begin the season, the right-hander has allowed four runs in 15 innings. He's coming off a stellar start in which he held the Astros to one run and five hits in seven innings on April 17. Myers has thrived at Coors Field, with a 4-0 record and a 2.63 ERA there in four outings.

Tidbits
A key for Francis will be to stay in the game. Righty Aaron Cook went seven in Saturday's victory over the Astros, and Francis went seven in his last start, but pitchers not reaching the seventh have increased the strain on the bullpen. The Rockies have been at or near the top of the league in relief ERA much of the season, but that can't hold if pitchers become tired. Manager Clint Hurdle said he's not going to blame the 'pen for the last two losses, including a 9-5 defeat at Coors by the Phillies on Monday. "This is more hiccups than anything," he said. "... They're not going to get it done every time." ... Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins is hot, on a six-game hitting streak during which he is batting .379 with three home runs. But so is catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who knocked a three-run homer on Monday and has nine RBIs in his last seven games. ... Clint Barmes went 2-for-4 Monday and has had multiple hits in six of his last eight games. ... The Rockies trailed, 6-5, going into the ninth, but left-hander Micah Bowie gave up three runs on three hits. ... Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca missed Monday night's game to tend to a family matter. The club is unsure when he'll return.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN-HD

On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Wednesday: Rockies (Franklin Morales, 1-1, 6.60) vs. Cubs (Rich Hill, 1-0, 3.86), 6:35 p.m. MT
• Thursday: Rockies Aaron Cook, RHP (2-1, 3.12) vs. Cubs (Jason Marquis, 1-0, 3.86), 1:05 p.m. MT
• Friday: Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 1-2, 4.64) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-2, 2.92), 8:40 p.m. MT

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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