Rockies 5, Mariners 4
The pact went something like this: No nasty pitches to each
Before the game, Mariners ace Felix Hernandez promised his
counterpart, Rockies top hurler Ubaldo Jimenez, he wouldn’t throw
anything too unhittable when Jimenez was at the plate. Jimenez
Yet they struck each other out in Colorado’s 5-4 win over the
Mariners on Sunday.
With these two, every pitch is filthy.
Hernandez, making his spring debut, was equal parts shaky and
sharp as he allowed four hits over 2 2-3 innings.
Not to be outdone, Jimenez turned in a stellar showing, allowing
one hit in four innings.
“Two of the best pitchers in baseball,” Mariners coach Don
Wakamatsu said. “Tremendous arms. I have a lot of respect for
After this game, the two aces have respect for each other.
Hernandez threw a two-seam fastball to Jimenez that had Jimenez
shaking his head in amazement.
Later, Jimenez returned the favor, tossing a sinker that tied up
“He threw hard,” Hernandez said of his rival on the mound.
“The guy is good.”
This spring, the Mariners have been slowly bringing along
Hernandez, who won 19 games last year and finished second in AL Cy
Young Award voting.
Before Sunday, Hernandez had thrown just two simulated games. He
was on a 50-pitch count against Colorado, but went three over as
Wakamatsu allowed him to throw into the third.
Hernandez was able to work his way out of trouble in the second
after giving up two straight singles to Melvin Mora and Chris
Iannetta. He struck out Clint Barmes and Jimenez, before walking
Dexter Fowler. He then made one of his better pitches of the day,
getting Seth Smith to ground out to end the threat.
He dodged a close call in the third when he was nearly hit by
Troy Tulowitzki’s wobbling liner up the middle. Hernandez was able
to fall to the ground and avoid the ball.
“Right at me. Kind of crazy,” said Hernandez, who signed a
five-year, $78 million contract in January.
After the game, Hernandez described his outing as simply,
His coach was more forthcoming.
“Good first outing,” Wakamatsu said. “I saw some real good
Jimenez had his best command of the spring, allowing only a
single to Matt Tuiasosopo.
“I felt good. I was locating my fastball and getting ahead of
hitters,” said Jimenez, who will start the Rockies’ opener April 5
In facing Hernandez, Todd Helton may have picked the wrong day
to make his Cactus League debut. Helton walked and grounded out
against the hard-throwing righty.
Any qualms about starting against a hurler the caliber of
“Nah, start from the top and work my way down,” said the
36-year-old Helton, who recently signed a two-year extension that
likely assures he remains in a Rockies uniform the rest of his
career. “I hope it helps me later in the season.”
Adam Moore had a nice souvenir from the game – a couple of
stitches in his chin. That came courtesy of a clumsy slide into
third late in the game. He said he stumbled in the dirt, leading to
the face plant.
“Beautiful,” he said.
Moore also got to catch Hernandez for the first time outside of
a bullpen session.
“The look in his eyes, you could tell he was hungry and ready
to get after it,” Moore said. “It felt like opening day with him
out there. It was a lot of fun catching him.”
NOTES: Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells was in charge Sunday
after manager Jim Tracy accompanied the split squad to Hermosillo,
Mexico, to face Arizona. The Rockies lost that game, 8-7. … The
plan is for Rob Johnson to catch Cliff Lee on Monday against
Arizona. Johnson had offseason hip and wrist surgery. … Ryan
Harvey hit a three-run homer in the seventh for Colorado.