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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, July 21st (All times Eastern)

Colorado Rockies (35-57) at San Diego Padres (40-55), 8:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Colorado - Jeff Francis (2-2, 4.76) San Diego - Kip Wells (1-3, 2.82)

(Sports Network) - The last time that Kip Wells faced the Colorado Rockies, he picked up a pair of firsts. He'll look for more success over the NL West rivals tonight when his San Diego Padres continue a three-game series versus the hosting Rockies.

Out of the majors for the previous two seasons, Wells earned his first victory at the big-league level since Sept. 20, 2009 when he hurled seven scoreless innings of six-hit ball at Colorado on July 1. It was also his first victory over the Rockies, moving him to 1-3 with a 5.53 earned run average in seven meetings.

Wells, though, has lost two starts since, with the Padres getting shut out in both games. The 35-year-old righty himself allowed two runs on three hits and five walks in a 2-0 setback to the Houston Astros on Monday, struggling through 4 1/3 frames.

"We kind of had a plan to pitch them backwards at times: with certain guys, start them soft, finish them hard. ... When that didn't work, I didn't make an adjustment quick enough to go to more fastballs," Wells told San Diego's official website.

In four starts this season, Wells is 1-3 with a 2.82 ERA.

He'll oppose another veteran in the 31-year-old Jeff Francis, who is 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA in eight starts on the year with the Rockies.

Francis pitched well in his first start following the All-Star break on Monday versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, scattering a run and six hits without a walk over five innings. The lefty did not factor into a 5-4 win, however.

Francis beat the Padres on June 29, hurling six shutout innings of three-hit ball. It was a rare win over San Diego, moving him to 6-13 with a 5.39 ERA in 23 encounters.

Though last night's opener took place in San Diego, it had more of a Coors Field feel to it as the Padres hit a trio of home runs en route to a 9-5 win.

Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer and both Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley added solo shots to help the Padres win its fourth straight and for the sixth time in seven games.

Chris Denorfia belted a two-run triple prior to Grandal's homer in the third, a four-run frame that came after Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez had put his team ahead in the top of the inning with his second career grand slam.

"Guys are picking each other up all across the board and that's what it takes when you string wins together," said San Diego manager Bud Black.

Rookie starter Drew Pomeranz lasted just three innings in the setback and was charged with seven runs on nine hits.

The Rockies wore black wristbands to honor the victims of Friday's mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people were killed and many were injured when a lone gunman opened fire at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Century 16 Movie Theaters. The cineplex is located less than 20 miles from Coors Field.

"The realization that we're just playing a baseball game tonight pales in comparison to what a number of people are going through as we sit here right now," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said prior to his team's fifth loss in its last six games.

Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario, who is hitting .254 on the season with 15 homers and 39 RBI, left the game in the second inning with an injured left ankle after attempting to block a pitch in the dirt. He is day-to-day.

The Rockies have lost six of 10 matchups with the Padres in 2012 and 10 of the previous 14 encounters in this series.

07/21 10:32:30 ET