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Another scoreless outing for lefty Francis


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though he allowed a leadoff double in the fourth inning after he and Juan Nicasio had combined for three innings of perfect baseball, Jeff Francis maintained a perfect 0.00 Cactus League ERA after his second appearance of the spring Thursday.

Francis threw three innings, getting six of his outs on grounders, two on a pair of fly balls, and adding a strikeout out while yielding three hits.

"I threw a lot of strikes," Francis said. "I made a couple mistakes that got hit for base hits there in the [fifth] inning, but the guys made plays behind me, like usual. I was ahead in the count, for the most part."

One play that began with a one-hopper to third resulted in three outs before you could say "Arenado-to-Young-to-Wrigley." With two on and no out, Francis coaxed a triple-play grounder out of Zack Cozart.

"Three outs with one pitch? That's a good one," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I'll have to put that in the playbook.

"Jeff did what he does. For the most part, he pitches off the barrel, pitches to soft contact."

The veteran left-hander was focused on working inside to right-handed hitters, and found even more success than in his first outing, a scoreless two innings with two hits allowed.

"It's just a matter of executing it, making pitches at the right time," Francis said regarding his velocity, which he feels is relatively irrelevant. "It's funny. As a pitcher, it's one speed. I don't feel like I throw any softer than anyone else, but I do. If the ball goes where I want it to, it feels like I'm throwing it pretty hard, but then I look up and it's 85 [mph]."

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