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).
- Jeff Francis
- Chris Nelson
- Wilin Rosario