ST. LOUIS — Rookie Jeff Francis pitched three-hit ball for six innings, and Garrett Atkins and Danny Ardoin hit home runs Thursday night to lead the Colorado Rockies against the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0 for only their sixth road victory of the season.
Francis (7-5) contributed two hits and scored twice for the Rockies, a major league-worst 6-31 on the road. The start was the most feeble since the 1982 Twins went 5-32, and they had dropped five straight and 11 of 12 away from Coors Field while getting outscored 77-32. The Rockies were 12-15 in June, their fifth straight losing month.
Dan Miceli, Jay Witasick and David Cortes each pitched an inning and gave up a hit in finishing the Rockies’ second shutout of the season and first since June 10 against the Tigers, neither of them on complete games. It came in a game matching teams at the top and bottom of the NL standings.
Albert Pujols, batting .409 during his hitting streak with four home runs, had a single and two walks to extend that streak to 12 games for the Cardinals, who missed a chance to go to a season-best 22 games above .500. After hitting 16 home runs in the first six games of a 10-game homestand the Cardinals advanced only two runners to second base against Francis and totaled six hits.
The 24-year-old left-hander entered the game 1-4 with a 7.21 ERA on the road compared with 5-1 and 3.50 at home. He struck out six and walked two, allowing three singles in the fourth but getting out of the jam when Pujols tried to score from third on a single to shallow left and was easily thrown out at the plate by Cory Sullivan to end the inning.
Francis, who entered the game 1-for-25 at the plate with 12 strikeouts, singled and scored in the third and doubled over the head of center fielder Jim Edmonds and scored in the fifth.
Atkins hit his seventh home run off Jeff Suppan (7-7) in the second and Ardoin hit his first leading off the third. Suppan, whose four-inning outing matched his shortest of the season.