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World series: Rockies rusty in return to action

Team that formerly couldn't lose can't do anything right

BOSTON — Will anyone remember that the Colorado Rockies got here by winning 21 of 22?

That fabulous streak skidded to a halt Wednesday night in Colorado's 13-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox, who piled on more runs than any team in a World Series opener.

The eight-day layoff the Rockies earned by sweeping the Diamondbacks in the NL championship series proved costly at Fenway Park. They looked ragged, not rested.

They went from wild-card wannabes to formidable NL champions, losing just once in 38 days before running into Boston's buzz saw.

Jeff Francis watched his second pitch sail over the Green Monster. While Francis was getting shelled, the Rockies' lineup looked hopeless against Josh Beckett.

The last time Francis and his teammates had been beaten was Sept. 28, a span of 26 days, and they looked like they hadn't played in that long, too.

Francis was even rustier than the Rockies' rickety lineup, allowing 10 hits, the most he's yielded since July 23 against San Diego.

The first batter he faced, Dustin Pedroia, sent the lefty's second pitch over the wall in left and the rout was on.

By the time the first inning ended Francis had surrendered three runs and five hits, three of which went for extra bases. He gave up another run in the second and two more in the fourth.

In four painful innings, Francis allowed six earned runs and 10 hits, his worst start in 2 1/2 months.

The team that couldn't lose suddenly couldn't do anything right.

Rookie Franklin Morales, a lefty who was relegated to the bullpen when the Rockies decided to activate Aaron Cook for a Game 4 start this weekend, gave up seven runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning. He also committed the first balk in a World Series game in 11 years.

Ryan Speier relieved Morales with the bases loaded and two outs and walked in all three runners to make it 13-1 before Matt Herges came in and rescued the humiliated Rockies by inducing Kevin Youkilis to fly out to right field.

In their 7-0 sweep through Philadelphia and Arizona in the playoffs, the Rockies' starting pitchers posted a 2.31 ERA and their bullpen a 1.38 ERA.

It's apparent the Rockies were too good for their own good. After taking four straight from Arizona, they had to wait around eight days before facing the Red Sox, who needed seven games to eliminate Cleveland in the ALCS and got just two days off.

Pedroia insisted this week Boston wasn't the one with the momentum despite having overcome a 3-1 deficit to beat the Indians.

"We haven't won 21 out of 22 games," he said. "They have."

Make that 21 of 23.

The Rockies kept insisting the long layoff was good for them so they could rest, relax and recuperate. One player who didn't sugarcoat it, though, was Todd Helton, who waited 1,578 games to get into the postseason and had to sit around waiting for the World Series longer than any team since the 1910 Philadelphia Athletics endured a 10-day wait.

"There's no way to go out and keep playing and stay in the same rhythm that we've been on," Helton said. "Whether it's good or bad, we won't know until we get out there and play."

It was very, very bad.