Rockies 5, Pirates 3

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PITTSBURGH – Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton each hit two-run homers and the Colorado Rockies beat Pittsburgh 5-3, the Pirates’ sixth straight loss.

Jeff Francis (10-5) won his fifth decision in a row. He gave up six hits in seven innings, helped himself with an RBI single and left with a 5-2 lead.

Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche homered for Pittsburgh, which got swept in the three-game series and fell a season-low 14 games under .500.

Clint Hurdle won his 400th game with Rockies, becoming the second manager to reach that milestone. Don Baylor is the franchise’s leader with 440 wins.

Francis, 9-1 in his past 13 starts, did not walk a batter and struck out six. He singled in the third off Ian Snell (7-7) to account for Colorado’s first run.

Manny Corpas pitched the ninth for his third save.

Rajai Davis opened the game with a single for Pittsburgh and Sanchez followed with a double. LaRoche had an RBI grounder, and Francis allowed only four more Pirates to reach base. Sanchez homered in the sixth.

Hawpe hit his team-high 17th homer in the fourth, scoring Matt Holliday.

Helton, who missed Tuesday night’s because of severe headaches, homered down the right-field line in the sixth. It was his ninth home run.

Snell allowed five hits – one on a misplayed ball by Davis in center field – and struck out six in six innings.

Davis and Sanchez each had two hits for the Pirates, whose skid started before the All-Star break.

Notes: Francis improved to 38-8 when the Rockies provide him with three or more runs of support. … Pittsburgh OF Jason Bay, mired in an 19-for-132 slump since June 4, came into the game 7-for-9 lifetime against Francis and went 1-for-3 against him. … The Rockies took the lead in the all-time series between the teams, 63-62. … The Rockies posted their fourth sweep this season.

AP-ES-07-18-07 1509EDT

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