DETROIT -- It took a trip out of town for the Rockies to find themselves during this strange and mostly painful season.Rookie catcher Wilin Rosario chopped a two-run single to begin a record-setting eight-run 10th inning that led to a 12-4 victory over the Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park, a triumph that halted the Rockies' season-worst eight-game losing streak. The eight 10th-inning runs, which included a three-run homer by Carlos Gonzalez and a solo shot by Michael Cuddyer, were the most the club had ever scored in extras. The Rockies' previous high beyond the ninth was five in the 14th inning on Aug. 24, 2009, at home against the Giants. Of the eight straight defeats, the last six came at Coors Field -- normally a safe haven for the Rockies (25-38), even in rough years. But on Friday, in front of a sellout crowd of 41,878, the Rockies knocked 16 hits, a season high for a road game.
"It's good to get that stigma off our back, that's for sure," manager Jim Tracy said.Colorado also had decent starting pitching -- something notably missing during the skid -- from veteran lefty Jeff Francis, who atoned for a poor outing in his 2012 Rockies debut with 5 1/3 innings (four runs, eight hits), and saw Chris Nelson triple and homer, drive in three runs and score three times. "There was a lot of frustration for us, not being able to win at home," said Gonzalez, who improved his team-leading figures to 17 home runs and 51 RBIs with his 10th-inning swing against mop-up reliever Luis Marte. "Having this great win against one of the best teams in the Major Leagues gets our confidence up." The Tigers (30-34), although they had won five of the previous seven games, have been one of the biggest under-performing teams in the Majors. The 10th-inning performance by losing pitcher Jose Valverde (3-2) was the type that pushes a team into the underachieving category. Cuddyer opened the 10th with a single off Valverde. Eric Young Jr. bunted, and Valverde lobbed a tentative and off-target throw to first for an error. After Valverde walked Todd Helton, Jordan Pacheco grounded to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who threw home to retire Cuddyer. It was shades of the third inning, when the Rockies had two runs in and the bases loaded with no outs and did no further scoring. But Rosario broke through with a chopper barely out of the reach of a leaping Peralta for two runs. "Wilin Rosario's hit was magic," Gonzalez said. Valverde gave up six runs, tying a career high. Just one was earned, but the throwing error was the cause of that. "I thought we could've and should've scored more, but we didn't," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "For nine innings, it was really a great ballgame." Dexter Fowler, who doubled in a run right behind Nelson's RBI triple in the second, added an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Marco Scutaro singled in another run off Valverde. Gonzalez greeted Marte, and Cuddyer followed with his 10th homer. The big inning made a winner of Matt Belisle (3-2), who pitched two scoreless frames. Before the 10th, Nelson was the Rockies' offense. He tripled in a run against Tigers starter Casey Crosby and scored on Fowler's double in the third, before the inning fizzled. Nelson added his third home run of the season, for two runs in the fourth against Crosby. Francis, who spent 2004-10 with the Rockies and was the team's No. 1 pitcher for much of that time, gave up eight runs and 10 hits -- all singles -- on Saturday while losing to the Angels in his return to the club. On Friday, he shut down the Tigers after they had scored three times with one out in the third, and escaped jams in the fourth and fifth. "For us to come here, keep it tight and have a bust-out like we did in the 10th inning is huge for the team," Francis said. Bryan Holaday, Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera each doubled, and Prince Fielder added an RBI single in the Tigers' third. But Francis forced Delmon Young and Peralta into grounders to escape. Francis also got out of jams in the fourth and fifth. He recovered from a Ryan Raburn leadoff double in the fourth and struck out Brennan Boesch looking to end the frame with runners at the corners, and worked a fly ball from Raburn to end the fifth with two on base. Francis left with one out and one on in the sixth, but Adam Ottavino issued a walk and a wild pitch, and the Tigers tied the game at 4 on Boesch's fielder's choice grounder. Rex Brothers entered with two out and two on and walked a batter, but ended the frame by fanning Young.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.