Jimenez gives Rox series win over Rays
Rockies manager Jim Tracy put Ubaldo Jimenez in some impressive company before his outing against Tampa Bay.
Then, Jimenez went out and showed why.
"I see a lot of Pedro Martinez in him. The looseness in his arm and the way his arm works reminds me an awful lot of a young Pedro Martinez," Tracy said. "And I watched a lot of that sitting next to Felipe Alou while I was in Montreal."
Jimenez won his third straight start and Clint Barmes hit a two-run homer in Colorado's 4-3 victory over the Rays on Thursday.
"Ubaldo is a guy who is beginning to find his niche," Tracy said. "I still believe there's still another step on the ladder that he aspires to take and that is to become a bona fide ace-stopper type starting pitcher in the Rockies rotation."
Todd Helton and Carlos Gonzalez added solo homers for the surging Rockies, who have won 13 of 14. They took the final two in this three-game series after Tampa Bay snapped their 11-game winning streak Tuesday.
Jimenez (6-6) allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings, scattering six hits and three walks. He struck out seven and worked out of several jams.
"I had a good command of my fastball," Jimenez said. "When I was getting in trouble, I was able to stay back and just command my fastball inside or away, setting up my breaking pitches."
The right-hander was lifted after hitting Evan Longoria in the left arm with a pitch and walking Carlos Pena. Joel Peralta replaced Jimenez and retired Ben Zobrist on a deep fly to center.
Manuel Corpas pitched a scoreless eighth and Huston Street earned his 15th save in 16 opportunities despite giving up a two-run single to Zobrist in the ninth.
The Rockies are 7-2 in interleague play.
"We got beat again by good pitching and they have been on a roll pitching," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "And another game where we got beat by one inning."
Matt Garza (4-5) fell to 0-3 in his last six starts. The 2008 AL championship series MVP gave up five runs and five hits in five innings, the fourth straight time he has failed to get through the sixth.
"I have to pitch better than I did," Garza said, moments before breaking down in tears and hiding his head in a towel.
He hasn't won since beating Cleveland 4-2 on May 16.
Dioner Navarro hit an RBI single for the Rays, who lost for the second time in eight games.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second. Jason Bartlett tripled to the center-field wall with two outs and scored on Navarro's bloop single.
Garza kept the Rockies hitless until Jimenez singled to right with one out in the third. The right-hander struck out Seth Smith, but Barmes drove a hanging slider into the left-field seats.
"I had seen three fastballs blow by me on my first at-bat," said Barmes, who sounded surprised that he got a breaking ball.
Two pitches later, Helton hit a long drive off the facade of the second deck in right and Colorado led 3-1.
"I left the pitch up to Barmes and he went up to get it," Garza said. "I had a fastball get away to Helton and he hit it out.
Maddon said that was the turning point.
"That inning was the one that got us," he said. "Statistics show that most games are lost in one inning and that was the one."
The Rays loaded the bases in the fourth on two-out singles by Gabe Gross and Bartlett and a walk to Navarro. Jimenez fanned Garza to avoid any damage.
"I'm not paid to hit," Garza said. "I'm paid to pitch."
Gonzalez homered in the fourth to make it 4-1, his first with the Rockies.
B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford opened the Tampa Bay ninth with singles and pulled off a double steal against Street. Longoria and Pena struck out ahead of Zobrist's single to center, but Street got Gross to line out to Barmes at second to end the game.
"We felt three or four times in the game that if the ball gets past someone, we can go ahead," Zobrist said. "That never happened enough."
Bartlett has a career-high 13-game hitting streak. ... Tampa Bay is 6-3 in interleague play. ... The Rays have lost all three series they've played at Coors Field. ... The Rockies hit back-to-back homers for the fifth time this year.