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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, June 29th (All times Eastern)

San Diego Padres (28-49) at Colorado Rockies (29-46), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Jason Marquis (1-3, 2.05) Colorado - Jeff Francis (0-1, 7.23)

(Sports Network) - Well-traveled lefty Jeff Francis makes his fifth start since returning to Colorado tonight when the Rockies host the San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Coors Field.

The ninth overall pick of the Rockies back in 2002, the Canadian-born Francis was among the National League's most successful pitchers between 2005 and 2007, when he won 14, 13 and 17 games across 99 overall starts.

He won just four games in 2008, was out of the majors for all of 2009 and won just four more times in 2010 before becoming a free agent and signing in Kansas City prior to 2011.

Francis won six of 22 decisions across 31 starts for the Royals in one American League season and was subsequently signed and released by the Cincinnati Reds without appearing in the big leagues. The Rockies then re- signed him on June 8.

Colorado has won three of the four games he's pitched since, but Francis is 0-1 after allowing 29 hits and 15 runs in 18 2/3 innings and an opposing batting average of .358.

He is 5-13 lifetime against San Diego.

Francis' mound foe, Jason Marquis, is also with his second team of 2012.

The 33-year-old Manhasset, N.Y. native was signed in the offseason by the Minnesota Twins and appeared in seven games with them before being granted free agency in late May and signing with the Padres the following day.

He was 2-4 with an 8.47 earned run average with Minnesota and is 1-3 with a stingy 2.05 ERA for the Rockies, while allowing six earned runs on 26 hits in 26 1/3 innings.

In his last start, on June 23, Marquis allowed two earned runs on six hits in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to Seattle.

He's 5-4 in 14 career meetings with the Rockies, for whom he won 15 games in 2009.

On Thursday in Houston, Alexi Amarista capped a six-run ninth inning with a grand slam, lifting the Padres over the Astros, 7-3.

Amarista's first career homer helped the Padres split the four-game series. Chase Headley went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and two runs scored.

Andrew Cashner, who took a no-hitter into the seventh, allowed two runs on two hits. He struck out nine and walked one over 6 1/3 frames. Nick Vincent (1-0) got the win despite giving up one run in the eighth.

In Colorado, Marco Scutaro knocked in the game-winning run with a bloop single into right field in the bottom of the 11th inning and the Rockies edged the Washington Nationals, 11-10, in the finale of a four-game series.

After stranding the potential winning run on base in the ninth and 10th innings, the Rockies finally got the job done in the 11th. Facing Nats reliever Craig Stammen (3-1), Jonathan Herrera laced a one-out double off the base of the wall in left-center and moved to third on a long fly out by Dexter Fowler two batters later.

Scutaro got ahead in the count, 2-0, before taking a couple huge swings and misses to even it at 2-2. Stammen then left one over the plate and Scutaro sliced it into right to score Herrera for the walkoff win.

"As soon as I hit it, I saw where the center fielder and right fielder were playing and thought it had a good chance of dropping," Scutaro said. "It's a long game, everybody was tired."

Adam Ottavino (2-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief work for the Rockies, who salvaged a split of the four-game set.

Tyler Colvin went 4-for-6 with a three-run homer, five RBI and was just a double short of the cycle, while Carlos Gonzalez had a pair of RBI base hits among his three hits and Chris Nelson contributed three hits and two RBI in the victory.

Colorado leads the all-time series with the Padres, 161-148. The teams have split six games thus far in 2012 and split 18 games played in 2011. The Rockies won the season series in 2010, 12-6.

06/29 10:52:21 ET