Chicago Cubs

Helton helps Rockies top Cubs

Helton gets his first hit of spring training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jeff Francis is way ahead of schedule for the start of the Colorado Rockies’ season. Todd Helton could use a some more good at-bats.

Francis pitched four shutout inning Tuesday and Helton had his first hit and RBI as the Rockies beat the Cubs 6-3 to snap a three-game losing streak.

“I threw a couple of nice curveballs early and then was able to speed it up later in the count, and that worked very well,” said Francis who has not allowed a run and only six hits in nine innings. “Now I can work on some other pitches in my other starts.”

Helton, a .320 hitter who was limited to 69 games and a career-low .238 average while fighting hip problems last season, gave Colorado a-1-0 lead in the first with an opposite-field ground-rule double. It was only his second spring game and third at-bat. Helton grounded out sharply to the pitcher in his other at-bat. His timing at the plate looked off.

The only hit Francis gave up was bloop single to Cubs starter Scott Feldman, who signed as a free agent with the Cubs after six-plus seasons with the Texas Rangers.

Feldman, expected to be in the Cubs’ rotation, gave up four runs and six hits while facing 13 batters in a little over two innings.

The results were not what Feldman hoped for in his second spring game, but he wasn’t discouraged.

“If you’re going to have a game like today, it’s best that it comes in the spring,” he said. “Spring is the time you work things out. I’m going to get two or three more starts so I’m just going to go out there and hone the things I do. I’m very hopeful.”

Edwin Maysonet hit an inside the park homer for the Cubs in the fifth, and non-roster invitee infielder Brad Nelson added a solo shot in the ninth, his second of the spring.

Wilin Rosario hit his first home run, a two-run shot in the third. Colorado had 12 hits including two by Kent Matthes.

Notes: Both teams will be represented in the World Baseball Classic. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is with Team Italy, and Carlos Gonzalez, Jhoulys Chacin and Ramon Hernandez are with Venzeula. In addition, three Cubs minor leaguers are on WBC rosters, representing Spain, Australia and Chinese-Taipei. ... Colorado signed 27-year-old right-hander Bobby Cassevah to a minor league contract and brought him to camp. Cassevah played on three levels with the Angels’ organization in 2012, including four games with the Angels. ... The 39 games the Cubs are playing match the club record set in their first year season in Arizona in 1952.

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