Denver When Yadier Molina's bloop single glanced off Cory Sullivan's glove in the sixth inning, the center fielder leapt to his feet in frustration.
Left-hander Jeff Francis, who had been working on a perfect game to that point, let out a sigh and a slight smile.
"There's a lot of anxiety involved when you have something going like that. When that ball dropped, it's almost a relief," Francis said. "You know, just concentrate on winning the game and that load comes off your shoulders."
Francis rolled right along, tossing a two-hitter for his first shutout, and the Colorado Rockies slowed down the St. Louis Cardinals with a 7-0 victory Monday night.
"That," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said, "was a masterpiece."
The Cardinals had homered in a franchise-record 19 straight games but came nowhere near the wall against Francis, who uses a strikingly similar delivery on all four of his pitches: a two- and four-seam fastball, changeup and slider.
"He was throwing them all for strikes, too," Jim Edmonds said. "That makes for a tough night. He's one of those guys that hides the ball real well. He was throwing sneaky."
The Cardinals managed to get only five balls out of the infield, including Molina's single in the sixth and Albert Pujols' line-drive double in the seventh.
Cubs 8, Mets 7
New York - Greg Maddux stopped his six-game losing streak, Aramis Ramirez and Jacque Jones hit consecutive homers, and Chicago beat New York. Maddux (8-11) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings, but still earned his 326th win to tie Eddie Plank for 12th on the career list.
Braves 10, Phillies 8
Philadelphia - Adam LaRoche homered twice, driving in four runs. Ex-Phillie Todd Pratt also homered for the Braves.
Brewers 12, Pirates 8
Milwaukee - Bill Hall hit two two-run homers, and Carlos Lee had one. The Brewers had 15 hits, one shy of their season high.
Padres 7, Dodgers 6 (11)
Los Angeles - Josh Bard had a two-out RBI single in the 11th inning, and Mike Cameron hit a three-run homer.