The Colorado Rockies ' rotation remains a work in progress, but at least the team is hitting the ball.
The San Diego Padres just broke out of their brief slump in a big way.
Left-hander Jeff Francis will try to help the Rockies post their first set of back-to-back victories in more than three weeks Friday night, when San Diego's Jason Marquis makes his first start in Denver since leaving Colorado three years ago.
While manager Jim Tracy 's recent switch to a four-man rotation has not produced positive results - Rockies starters have a 10.23 ERA over the last six games - the team is batting .352 and averaging 6.3 runs during that stretch after pounding out 20 hits in an 11-10, 11-inning victory over Washington on Thursday.
"We made it a lot harder on ourselves than we needed to," Tracy said of the team blowing an early 7-0 lead.
The Rockies (29-46), who last won two straight June 3-4, continue their seven-game homestand with Francis (0-1, 7.23 ERA) facing the Padres for the first time this season.
These NL West rivals have split six games in 2012, with each losing two of three on the road.
Making his fifth start since signing as a free agent June 9, Francis has another chance to tie Ubaldo Jimenez for the third-most wins in Rockies history with 56. Part of the reason why no Colorado starter has won a game since June 4, however, is Tracy's new 75-pitch limit.
"(The four-man rotation is) different, for sure," Francis told the Rockies' official website after giving up two runs in five innings of Monday's 4-2 win over the Nationals. "It's not what we're used to. But we're asked to do a job."
Francis has lost his last three decisions against the Padres. He'll face a San Diego club that salvaged a four-game split at Houston with Thursday's 7-3 victory. Held to three total runs while losing their previous two contests, the Padres (28-49) scored six in the ninth to snap a streak of 119 straight losses when trailing after eight innings.
"The first (career) home run was a big emotion and I'll never forget it," utilityman Alexi Amarista said through an interpreter after hitting a go-ahead grand slam.
That type of run production would be welcomed by Marquis (1-3, 2.05), who has gotten a total of six runs of support over 26 1-3 innings in four starts since joining San Diego.
The right-hander last pitched in Colorado in 2009, when he posted a 3.92 ERA in 16 home starts in his lone season with the Rockies. Marquis is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in four starts at Coors Field as a visitor.
He'll get his first look at Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez , who is batting .459 (34 for 74) with seven homers and 18 RBIs during a 17-game hitting streak in Denver.
Gonzalez is hitless in five at-bats in two home games versus San Diego this season, although he has walked three times. Teammate Tyler Colvin , who had a career-high four hits and five RBIs Thursday, is 5 for 12 against Padres pitching in 2012.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley , a native of Fountain, Colo., went 6 for 13 with two homers and three doubles in Denver from April 16-18.
|San Diego Padres|
|June 21, 2012||Anthony Bass||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 10, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Left game - Sprained neck|
|June 04, 2012||Will Venable||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 04, 2012||Eric Stults||15-Day DL||Strained left latissimus dorsi muscle|
|May 31, 2012||Andy Parrino||15-Day DL||Sore right hand|
|May 31, 2012||Andy Parrino||15-Day DL||Sore right hand|
|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|
DENVER (AP) -- Jeff Francis has found a comfort level in Colorado's four-man rotation.
He threw six scoreless innings for the Rockies in a 10-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday.
Rex Brothers bailed out newly recalled Tyler Chatwood in the eighth before Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario hit two-run homers in the bottom of that inning to secure Francis' first win in the majors since Sept. 15, 2011, when he was pitching for the Kansas City Royals .
Francis became the first Rockies starter to win since June 4, which is the last time the Rockies won consecutive games.
"I hope a lot of our young people are paying close attention as to what you can do with 75 or 80 pitches if you do it correctly," said Manager Jim Tracy , referring his starters' pitch limit.
Francis threw 82 pitches, 49 strikes, as he became the second Rockies starter to pitch six innings they implemented the four-man rotation June 19. The other was Christian Friedrich on June 22 at Texas.
The Rockies have won four of the five games started by Francis (1-1) who has allowed three runs in 16 innings in his past three starts. Asked the key to his recent success, Francis said, "just commanding both my curveball and changeup and being able to throw them for strikes and being able to throw them for a ball out of the zone when I need to."
Former Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis (1-4) held Colorado to two runs through five innings before they scored four in the sixth.
Tracy had seventh-inning specialist Brothers warming up with the Rockies leading by two runs but turned to Chatwood, called up earlier Friday from Triple-A Colorado Springs, in the seventh with the Rockies ahead by six runs. Tracy said he intended to have Chatwood finish the game.
But he allowed a leadoff homer to Carlos Quentin in the seventh and a run-scoring single to pinch hitter Will Venable in the eighth. Brothers came on with none out and runners on first and second to face the Padres No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters. He struck out Chase Headley and Quentin on sliders and got Yonder Alonso to line out.
"The pitch of the night actually is the 3-2 pitch to Chase Headley , the slider that struck Headley out," Tracy said. "Because if that's ball four, we've got a bases loaded situation with a 6-2 game and nobody out and Carlos Quentin standing up there at home plate. That's not where you want to be."
Since being recalled from Colorado Springs on June 2, Brothers has allowed two runs, one earned, in 13 2-3 innings with three walks and 21 strikeouts while stranding the eight runners he has inherited.
"I guess that's kind of the job description of the bullpen is to come in late in the game and lock things down," Brothers said. "My only mind set was to stop things right where they were."
The Rockies scored a run in the first and another in the third.
Marco Scutaro doubled with one out in the first, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Carlos Gonzalez 's ground out. Scutaro's two-out single in the third scored Rosario, who led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Francis.
Marquis began his third trip through the lineup in the sixth and proved vulnerable. He had allowed three hits to that point but gave up three straight extra-base hits in what became a four-run outburst with help from the Padres defense.
Dexter Fowler led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Scutaro. Gonzalez tripled into the right field corner and scored when second baseman Logan Forsythe 's relay throw sailed into the stands. With two outs, shortstop Everth Cabrera misplayed Chris Nelson 's grounder, and Colvin scored to make it 6-0.
"I threw quality pitches early in the game," Marquis said. "Then in the sixth inning, putting Dexter on with a walk, which you don't want to do. Then I wasn't able to put away Gonzalez and Cuddyer away with two strikes. I left two balls up. Probably the two mistakes all night and I paid for it."
Francis retired 10 batters in a row before Headley singled with one out in the fourth, but Francis got Quentin to ground into a double play.
John Baker led off the Padres sixth with a sharp grounder into right field for a single, the third and final hit off Francis. After Marquis' sacrifice, Francis issued his only walk, but Forsythe flied to left and Headley grounded to third.
"I used to be able to get a fastball by some guys, which I don't do anymore," said Francis, who underwent shoulder surgery in February 2009. "I have to find other ways."
Marquis, who went 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA for the Rockies in 2009, is 10-7 with a 3.78 at Coors Field in 22 games, 21 starts. In his past four starts, the Padres have scored a total of five runs.
"The only time I can control that aspect of the game is when I'm standing in the batter's box," Marquis said. "So I don't tend to worry about it too much. I've been around the game long enough. When you are younger it tends to bother you a little bit more. It is what it is. You can only control your job and that's what your focus should be."
NOTES: To make room on the roster for Chatwood, the Rockies optioned left-hander Edwar Cabrera to Triple-A Colorado Springs two days after he struggled in his major league debut. ... Jhoulys Chacin (nerve irritation in chest muscle) threw a 30-pitch bullpen, all fastballs. He last pitched for the Rockies on May 1. Tracy said, "My understanding is there was a lot more coming out today. He is definitely progressing. I was pleased to hear that." ... Friedrich (4-5) will start for the Rockies against Edinson Volquez (4-7) of the Padres on Saturday.