Rockies 2, Nationals 1
Ubaldo Jimenez is happy again going into baseball’s break.
Unlike last year, the Colorado Rockies’ starter isn’t going to
be playing in the All-Star game, but he capped a tough first half
with one of his best performances of the season. Jimenez allowed
one run in eight innings and struck out eight as the Colorado
Rockies beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Saturday night.
”It’s really good when you finish on a high note,” Jimenez
said. ”Especially with the kind of beginning I had, I struggled a
lot, and to finish in this way is going to help me a lot for the
second half. Not only me, but the whole team.”
One year ago, the right-hander was the National League starter
in the All-Star game. So far this season, Jimenez (4-8) has
struggled to regain the form that put him on top. He didn’t get his
first win until June 1, but now he thinks everything is in
His teammates are just as glad to see it as Jimenez is.
”He was dirty, no doubt about it. That was the old Ubaldo,”
said Todd Helton, who homered, doubled and drove in both runs.
”It’s good to have him back.”
The Rockies have won two in a row and will go for the series
”At this point, it’s not just about winning a series, it’s
about winning every game,” said closer Huston Street, who pitched
the ninth for his 26th save. ”We’ve got to play catchup and do it
quick. We’ve got to put ourselves in the conversation and become
relevant, and you have to win to do that.”
Jimenez retired the first 13 batters before Michael Morse
singled with one out in the fifth inning. In all, Jimenez allowed
five hits and walked one. It was the third time this season Jimenez
pitched at least eight innings, all coming on the road.
”I think it’s safe to say that tonight we won with pitching,
and that was the Ubaldo Jimenez of a year ago,” Rockies manager
Jim Tracy said. ”He was in complete control from the outset.”
Ian Desmond singled, tripled and scored the lone run for the
Nationals, who have lost three consecutive one-run games.
Nationals starter Jason Marquis (7-4) was coming off his worst
start of the season, when he gave up four runs on eight hits over 1
1-3 innings in a loss to Pittsburgh on July 3. Marquis was much
better against the Rockies, but was no match for Jimenez as he
allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, walking four and
striking out one.
”Ubaldo was just sharp tonight. You tip your hat,” Marquis
said. ”It was just one of those games.”
Helton hit his 10th homer into the seats above the out-of-town
scoreboard in right field in the fourth inning. He drove in another
run with a groundout in the fifth inning.
Desmond led off the sixth inning with a liner to center which
bounced over the sliding Spilborghs for a triple. Desmond scored on
pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel’s groundout to second.
The Rockies were poised to add to their lead in the eighth
inning. Helton’s double and an intentional walk to Tulowitzki gave
Colorado runners on first and second with one out. Seth Smith lined
a ball to left, and Nix made a diving catch before doubling up
”It’s obviously a good game to win,” Tracy said. ”And
tomorrow would probably be even better to win that ballgame and
create some serious momentum for ourselves going into the
Notes: Tulowitzki started after missing the last four games with
a tight hamstring. … Colorado OF Carlos Gonzalez (bruised right
wrist) was out of the starting lineup, although he came on in the
ninth as a defensive replacement. Gonzalez had missed four games
before returning Friday. ”He’s sore today. Still feeling it a
little bit,” Tracy said. Tracy added there was a ”remote” chance
of Gonzalez playing Sunday. … Nationals C Jesus Flores, recalled
from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday, made his first start since May 9,
2009. … A day after being hit in the nose with a line drive,
Nationals LHP John Lannan said there was a small break in the
cartilage on the side of his nose, but he doesn’t expect to miss a
start. ”It wasn’t as bad as it looked,” Lannan said. … It was
Tracy’s 200th win with the Rockies.