|Webb struggles as Rockies take 4-1 lead over Diamondbacks after 6 in NLCS opener|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 October 2007 17:30|
Brad Hawpe's two-run single capped a three-run third inning against Webb, who went 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA against the Rockies this season.
The first-ever NLCS between NL West rivals pitted the Rockies against a Diamondbacks team coming off its first postseason sweep, a three-game wipeout of the Chicago Cubs.
Colorado had won 17 of its previous 18 games. The lone loss was Sept. 28, when Webb beat Francis at Coors Field.
This time, the Rockies had a patient approach that forced Webb to throw his sinker for strikes, and he struggled with his command. Webb was lifted after throwing 98 pitches - 61 for strikes - in six innings. He allowed four runs and seven hits, walked two and struck out four.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner had not given up as many as four runs in the first three innings since Sept. 2 - when the Rockies beat him 4-3.
While Webb struggled, Francis cruised after a shaky first inning. Stephen Drew, who was 7-for-14 in the first round, singled with one out and Eric Byrnes hit Francis' first pitch down the left-field line for a double that scored Drew without a throw.
Francis retired nine of the next 10 batters, and he didn't allow another hit until Webb singled with two out in the fifth. Francis then walked Chris Young before striking out Drew on a 3-2 pitch.
Byrnes led off the sixth with a single but was quickly erased on Conor Jackson's 6-4-3 double-play grounder.
With about 1,000 empty seats at Chase Field, the roof was open on a 93-degree evening in the desert.
Webb pitched into a no-outs, bases-loaded jam in the second, giving up singles to Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins and walking Hawpe. That brought up Troy Tulowitzki, who entered 11-for-23 with the bases loaded this year.
Webb desperately needed a ground ball, and he got it. Tulowitzki bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, tying the game at 1-1 but averting a potentially big inning. Webb struck out Yorvit Torrealba to strand Atkins at third.
Colorado reached Webb again in the third. With one out, Willy Taveras singled and stole second on a pitch in the dirt. It was Taveras' first game after a 21-game absence caused by leg injuries.
Taveras scored on Kaz Matsui's bloop single to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Matt Holliday then hit a ball that rolled down foul down the third-base line, kicked back fair and bounced off the bag for an infield single.
After Helton flied out, Webb loaded by the bases with a walk to Atkins, and Hawpe lined a single to right for a 4-1 lead.