After rallying for a second straight victory, the Phillies look to complete a sweep of the crumbling Rockies on Thursday night.
Philadelphia (33-37) had lost three in a row and 12 of 15 before winning the first two against Colorado. Dexter Fowler delivered a tiebreaking single in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday, but the Phillies rallied with two runs in the bottom, winning 7-6 when Hunter Pence scored as Todd Helton missed tagging first base on Placido Polanco 's two-out grounder.
"When you're not doing the big things, the little things work to your advantage," Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino said. "Hopefully it'll kick start something."
The Phillies have won five in a row and 24 of 29 against Colorado, including three of four in a 2009 NL division series and 13 of 16 at Citizens Bank Park.
The Rockies (25-42) have lost four straight and 12 of 13 overall, and things might not get any easier. Colorado announced Wednesday that Troy Tulowitzki will have surgery on his left groin area Thursday, a major setback for the star shortstop, who has not played since May 30.
He had been getting into a groove before the injury, batting .389 with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last nine games, but now the Rockies enter an uncertain timetable without Tulowitzki.
"There's some scar tissue that is built up over a nerve," manager Jim Tracy told the Rockies' official website. "We're very hopeful they're going to successfully relieve that and get us beyond these problems and situations we've been dealing with over the course of the last year or so."
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has done his best to fill the void left by Tulowitzki, batting .444 (16 for 36) in his last eight games. Including the postseason, Gonzalez is a lifetime .455 hitter in 18 games against the Phillies.
Gonzalez and the Rockies, however, could face a major test against scheduled Philadelphia starter Vance Worley (3-3, 2.80 ERA). The right-hander has allowed six runs, but only one earned, over 13 innings in his last two starts.
Worley is looking for his first win since May 11. The Phillies have lost each of his three starts since he spent three weeks on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.
Colorado counters with Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46), hoping the veteran can stabilize the team's unconventional rotation. With Tracy opting to go with four starters and a 75-pitch limit for each, Rockies relievers have been forced to pitch 8 2-3 innings in the first two games of this series.
The team has a 7.19 ERA in its last 13 games.
"They're taking steps to improve the team," Francis said. "We're not doing our job well enough. We've got to pitch better and they're trying to help us."
Signed by the Rockies earlier this month, Francis began his second stint with Colorado by giving up eight runs in 3 1-3 innings of an 11-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on June 9. He was better Friday when he yielded four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 12-4, 10-inning victory at Detroit.
"It's a step in the right direction for me," Francis said.
Including a road win in the 2007 playoffs, the left-hander is 2-1 with a 6.12 ERA in six career starts versus Philadelphia.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is batting .400 (14 for 35) in his last eight games and .429 (6 for 14) versus Francis.
|June 17, 2012||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Sore right hamstring|
|June 03, 2012||Juan Nicasio||15-Day DL||Strained left knee|
|June 02, 2012||Jordan Pacheco||Day-to-Day||Sore left quadricep|
|June 02, 2012||Juan Nicasio||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left knee|
|May 31, 2012||Troy Tulowitzki||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|May 24, 2012||Ramon Hernandez||15-Day DL||Strained muscle, left hand|
|June 07, 2012||Freddy Galvis||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 05, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left game - left index finger laceration|
|June 02, 2012||Jose Contreras||60-Day DL||Torn UCL, right elbow - out for season|
|May 28, 2012||Roy Halladay||15-Day DL||Right latissimus dorsi strain|
|May 16, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left knee contusion|
|May 12, 2012||Vance Worley||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The third time worked just fine for Colorado's four-man rotation experiment.
Jeff Francis tossed five solid innings and four relievers combined to shut out Philadelphia the rest of the way Thursday night in the Rockies' 4-1 victory over the Phillies.
Chris Nelson hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning and Wilin Rosario added a two-run shot in the ninth to help the Rockies snap a four-game losing streak.
Josh Roenicke (2-0) pitched 1 1-3 innings in relief of Francis to earn the victory. The Rockies' bullpen allowed just two hits.
Francis surrendered one run on six hits and was lifted after 76 pitches. The Rockies are now limiting their starters to 75 pitches, something manager Jim Tracy implemented prior to Tuesday's game against Philadelphia when he moved Jeremy Guthrie to the bullpen.
Tracy said he didn't consider leaving the effective Francis in the game.
"No and the reason why is if we're going to find out about this, we have to continue to do it," he said.
Said Francis: "We're going to buy into it. It was on my mind but I just tried to throw more strikes."
It was the third start of the season for Francis, a former Rockies first-round pick who was re-signed by Colorado on June 9 after being released by Cincinnati. The soft-tossing lefty retired 11 of his final 13 batters he faced after giving up hits to four of the first seven batters.
"He was sinking the ball away and threw a lot of changeups and breaking balls and kept us off balance, took the sting out of our bats," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was throwing us a lot of slow stuff and we were chasing. He had good command of his fastball."
Rafael Betancourt worked the ninth for his 11th save in 14 chances.
Marco Scutaro had a pair of hits for the Rockies, who had lost 12 of 13 entering Thursday.
Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff home run for Philadelphia, which was looking for its first three-game sweep of the season.
"Fortunately we won the series but this game would've been real good for us to win," Manuel said. "But we have to come back out tomorrow with the outlook we're going to win tomorrow's game and play better."
The Phillies were reeling, losing 12 of 15, prior to taking the first two in the series from the Rockies. They didn't do much after Rollins' homer.
The Rockies went ahead 2-1 in the seventh on Nelson's two-run homer. Tyler Colvin singled with one out and Nelson connected with two outs against Vance Worley (3-4).
"It was down, I had him out in front but the ball kept carrying," Worley said. "I was pretty disgusted."
It was the fifth homer this month in 45 at-bats for Nelson, who didn't have a homer in April or May over 73 at-bats.
"I'm just starting to feel good, that's all that is," said Nelson, slowed by a wrist injury this season.
Rosario connected with two outs in the ninth off Michael Schwimer . Rosario leads major league rookies with 11 homers.
"Rosario had another good game and a big at-bat," Tracy said. "We have a chance to have a special player on our hands."
Worley made his fourth start since coming off the disabled list on June 4 with right elbow inflammation. He has pitched well in the four starts, with a 2.25 ERA, but has two losses and a pair of no-decisions.
"It's part of the game," Worley said. "I didn't have my best stuff but I had to go out and compete."
The right-hander had allowed just three singles through 6 2-3 innings before Nelson's homer.
The Phillies squandered a chance to score in the second. John Mayberry Jr. led off with a double and went to third with one out on third baseman Jordan Pacheco 's throwing error on Worley's grounder. But Francis got Rollins to pop out and Juan Pierre to fly out to end the threat.
"The starter tonight, I hope our young guys paid attention," Tracy said of Francis. "Only one bad curveball. He did a terrific job."
Pinch hitter Ty Wigginton , who started the Phillies' two-out rally in the ninth Wednesday night with a single in a 7-6 win, led off the eighth with a double off the wall in right-center. But right-hander Matt Belisle struck out Hunter Pence , got Carlos Ruiz to fly out to deep center and induced an infield popup by Shane Victorino .
NOTES: Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki had surgery on his left groin on Thursday to remove scar tissue and will miss at least six weeks. ... The crowd of 43,805 on a 95-degree night was the Phillies' 238th consecutive regular-season sellout, and 254th in a row counting the postseason. ... Colorado opens a three-game interleague series at Texas on Friday night, with Rockies LHP Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60 ERA) facing former Phillies RHP Roy Oswalt , who will be making his season debut for the Rangers. ... Philadelphia opens a three-game series at home against Tampa Bay on Friday night, with Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48) still looking for his first victory of the season against Rays RHP James Shields (7-4, 3.72).