Rockies 4, Reds 1

DENVER (AP) - Jeff Francis allowed five hits over seven innings and Todd Helton hit a two-run homer to help the Colorado Rockies end a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.

Francis (5-4) struck out six and walked one in winning his third straight start. In his past six starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA and has allowed eight earned runs in 44 innings.

Kazuo Matsui had two hits and scored twice for the Rockies.

Rockies pitchers struck out Ken Griffey Jr. three times, the first time this year Griffey has struck out three times in a game.

Brian Fuentes picked up his 16th save in 17 chances.

Reds starter Kyle Lohse (2-7) nearly matched Francis, walking two and not allowing a hit after Matt Holliday's two-out single in the third inning until he left at the end of the sixth inning. He allowed three runs and five hits in losing for the seventh time in eight decisions.

Helton homered over the center-field fence with Matsui on in the first inning to put Colorado ahead 2-0. Matsui singled to center, stole second, and one out later, Helton hit his sixth home run of the year.

The Rockies added a run in the third inning on Matsui's hustle.

With two outs, Matsui singled to right and, running on a 2-2 count, scored from first on Holliday's bloop single to right.

Francis retired the first 12 batters, striking out Griffey twice before Jeff Conine blooped a single in front of Holliday in left field to start the fifth inning.

Conine stole second with two outs. Edwin Encarnacion walked, but Francis got David Ross to ground out to the pitcher.

Cincinnati had a chance in the sixth when Lohse and Norris Hopper both singled to left to start the inning but Francis struck out Brandon Phillips, Griffey lined to right and Conine grounded out to first.

Cincinnati broke through in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Alex Gonzalez and Encarnacion.

The Rockies made it 4-1 in the eighth inning on Ryan Spilborghs' leadoff double and a bunt single by Willy Taveras. Spilborghs scored from third when Mike Stanton threw the ball into right field.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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