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Rockies 5, Reds 1: Jeff Francis deals five scoreless innings

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Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-3 as Todd Helton homered and Jeff Francis worked through a scoreless four hit outing.

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

The Colorado Rockies defeated the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 Friday night in Spring Training action at Goodyear Park. Jeff Francis finished off another quality starting assignment, going five innings without allowing an earned run. He struck out three batters, scattered four hits and didn't give up a walk. Francis has a solid 1.96 ERA in the Cactus League.

Dexter Fowler continued his torrid March by leading off the game with a double and later scored on an RBI groundout by Carlos Gonzalez. Fowler is hitting .391 in Spring Training action.

Providing protection for Michael Cuddyer's three hit day, Todd Helton batted fifth and launched a line drive home run into the right field grass in the fourth inning. Todd is still searching for his stroke this Spring, but Friday's homer against Reds ace Johnny Cueto provides a glimmer of hope as described by the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Rockies">#Rockies</a> Helton launches two-run line-drive homer to right-center. Off Reds' Cueto. Guess he can hit more than Double-A pitching.</p>&mdash; Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) <a href="https://twitter.com/psaundersdp/status/312760076085628928">March 16, 2013</a></blockquote>
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First baseman Ben Paulsen pinch hit in the seventh with a runner on and launched his first home run of Spring Training. Tim Wheeler was optioned down to minor league camp earlier in the day, but was still called on to pinch hit in the game and followed Paulsen's homer with a double.

Rockies relievers had a strong night going four innings and allowing only a single earned run and a single hit. The only blemish was in the eight inning when reliever Bobby Cassevah gave up an RBI triple to the Reds centerfielder Derrick Robinson. Cassevah was later removed from the game due to injury. Rule 5 draftee Daniel Rosenbaum continued his solid play going an inning and inducing a Corky Miller double play to finish the ninth in order.

The Rockies next game is Saturday at Salt River Fields against the Mariners. Lefthanded starter Drew Pomeranz is scheduled to start against Erasmo Ramirez of Seattle.