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Jimenez shines, Rockies use big inning to top Mets

Jun 22, 2008 - 3:55 AM By Paul Willis PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) -- Ubaldo Jimenez earned a temporary reprieve from a season's worth of struggles on the mound - and at the plate.

Jimenez halted a 13-start winless streak by outpitching his idol and Garrett Atkins' leadoff home run sparked a six-run fifth as the Colorado Rockies cruised to a 7-1 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday.

Jimenez (2-7) had gone winless since April 8 despite allowing three runs or less in 10 of the 13 starts. The 24-year-old allowed just two hits in a career-high eight innings. The righthander struck out two and walked four, while throwing 64 of 110 pitches for strikes.

"The numbers aren't indicative of how he's done," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's been knocking the bottom out of that ERA for the past four or five starts."

Jimenez's first win in over a two months came at the expense of his boyhood idol Pedro Martinez.

"It was great because Pedro's been my hero since I was little," said Jimenez, who indicated that command of his upper-90 mph fastball was the key. "It was awesome."

As trying as his winless streak was, Jimenez's performance at the plate had been more abysmal. He entered the game 0-for-28 but went 2-for-3 and scored a run during a decisive frame in which the Rockies sent nine men to the plate against Martinez (2-1).

Jimenez allowed a leadoff triple to Jose Reyes to begin the game, and Reyes quickly scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Castillo. But that was the only hit until an eighth-inning single by Damion Easley for the Mets, who fell to 2-2 under interim skipper Jerry Manuel.

"It was a little tough to see there, early, then (Jimenez) started to get confidence in all of his pitches," Manuel said. "Then, we started to put balls in play that were his pitches."

Hurdle considered sending Jimenez out for the ninth but didn't push the issue.

"We had tossed that idea around, but how many times has he pitched eight innings this year? Zero," Hurdle said. "So, this was a big step for him."

Martinez showed flashes of the form that made him one of the best pitchers in baseball for years, as he limited the Rockies to two singles through four frames. However, two pitches into the fifth, the Mets' 1-0 lead had evaporated.

"Man, he was cruising," Manuel said. "I thought he was the best we had seen him at this point. He's just at that point of his career where a little mistake here, a little mistake there, it can cost him. But I feel very good about the stuff that he had."

Atkins and Brad Hawpe led off the fifth with successive first-pitch home runs, and the Rockies chased Martinez when seven of the first eight hitters reached base safely.

Martinez was yanked after Matt Holliday's two-run single to center that made it 6-1. He allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings while striking out five and walking one.

Rockies second baseman Jeff Baker clubbed an RBI double off the right-field wall in the inning, narrowly missing a chance to become the third player in the Rockies' annals to homer in five consecutive games. Baker finished 2-for-4 and is 21-for-47 since May 29, vaulting his average from .188 to .296.

"You never try to hit a home run, you never try to guide the ball or anything like that," Baker said. "You just try to have a quality at-bat. Pedro had great stuff. He's one of the best pitchers of all-time, and you just try to find a pitch to hit. He doesn't give you very many."

Colorado leadoff man Willy Taveras set a personal milestone with his career-best 35th stolen base, and Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki registered his first two hits since coming off the disabled list Friday. Tulowitzki had been out of action since April 29 because of a tear in his left quadriceps.

The Mets loaded the bases in the ninth against Rockies reliever Luis Vizcaino but couldn't push across a run.

The teams will meet Sunday in the rubber match of the three-game series, as the Mets will be aiming to prevent the Rockies from claiming their sixth consecutive series.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
    COLORADO 0 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 x 7 14 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: NYM - PEDRO MARTINEZ, CLAUDIO VARGAS (5TH), SCOTT SCHOENEWEIS (7TH),
    AARON HEILMAN (8TH) AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER, ROBINSON CANCEL (8TH)
    COL - UBALDO JIMENEZ, LUIS VIZCA

    Jun 21 10:45 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TODD HELTON SCORED WILLY TAVERAS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T HELTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
    COLORADO 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: G ATKINS (.307, 1-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Mets 1, Rockies 7  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 21 10:12 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MATT HOLLIDAY SCORED WILLY TAVERAS AND JEFF
    BAKER.
    SITUATION: 6 RUNS IN, M HOLLIDAY ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
    COLORADO 6 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T HELTON (.275, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Mets 1, Rockies 6  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 9:27 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JEFF BAKER SCORED UBALDO JIMENEZ.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J BAKER ON SECOND, W TAVERAS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
    COLORADO 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: M HOLLIDAY (.325, 0-FOR-2)

    Mets 1, Rockies 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 9:25 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY WILLY TAVERAS SCORED TROY TULOWITZKI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, W TAVERAS ON FIRST, U JIMENEZ ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
    COLORADO 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: J BAKER (.292, 1-FOR-2)

    Mets 1, Rockies 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 9:23 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BRAD HAWPE (9) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    5TH OFF PEDRO MARTINEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1, COLORADO 2
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T TULOWITZKI (.145, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets 1, Rockies 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 9:16 PM


  • NL
    AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GARRETT ATKINS (10) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF PEDRO MARTINEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1, COLORADO 1
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: B HAWPE (.255, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets 1, Rockies 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 9:15 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 1 1 1 0
    COLORADO 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: NYM - PEDRO MARTINEZ
    COL - UBALDO JIMENEZ

    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: W TAVERAS (.248, 1 HR, 14 RBI)
    J BAKER (.288, 5 HR, 20 RBI)
    M HOLLIDAY (.328, 8 HR, 33

    Mets 1, Rockies 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 21 8:12 PM
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