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News » Jimenez aces Arizona Dominating start by right-hander fuels bullpen-backed shutout for Rockies ROCKIES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 0


Jimenez aces Arizona Dominating start by right-hander fuels bullpen-backed shutout for Rockies ROCKIES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 0


Jimenez aces Arizona Dominating start by right-hander fuels bullpen-backed shutout for Rockies ROCKIES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 0
PHOENIX - He is their new suit. The nice haircut. The muscle car in the driveway.

When Ubaldo Jimenez is on the mound, the Rockies feel good about themselves. It doesn't matter how they played the previous day or who they are facing.

"There's not much he can't do with a Baseball, huh?" marveled closer Huston Street.

Jimenez put on a display Tuesday night that makes you wonder who

really has the strongest arm. Petulant Jay Cutler might think he throws harder than John Elway, but he's no match for Jimenez.

Arizona's Dan Haren wasn't. And all he did was throw one of the best games of his life in a 3-0 loss to the Rockies at Chase Field.

The roof was open, but the breeze was provided by the errant swings. Jimenez and Haren combined to strike out 17 batters. Haren received a ruler across the hand for a single mistake, a hanging slider that Troy Tulowitzki deposited into the left-field seats in the fifth inning for his second home run. He didn't hit his second homer last season until June 29.

Nobody was going deep against Jimenez. Making contact was a challenge. The right-hander made the Diamondbacks look like the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. The raw numbers are telling: seven innings, 107 pitches, four hits allowed, eight strikeouts.

Dig deeper and the performance was even more significant. Jimenez continued to

morph before the Rockies' eyes. He threw a fastball at 98 miles per hour, a sinker at 92, a big curve and a changeup that suffered an identity crisis, acting like a split-finger on six occasions by diving dramatically.

"I was able to step back and think a lot more about my pitches," Jimenez said.

Jimenez has had this arsenal before, but what made it different in the Rockies' first win at Arizona since April 13 last season, a drought spanning seven games, was the mix. He used his curveball to set up his fastball for outs, and the fastball to set up the changeup for strikeouts. The game's most critical at-bat provided a memorable snapshot.

With runners at first and second in the sixth, after a conference with pitching coach Bob Apodaca, Jimenez ran the count to 2-2 against Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. On back-to-back high heaters - both reaching 97 mph - Montero swung so hard you could practically hear his back pop above the groans of the 26,637 paid fans in attendance.

"I was looking fastball and I think I tried to overswing too much," Montero said. "The guy's got a pretty good arm. He was able to throw strikes and that was a key for him. Sometimes he's wild but he wasn't today."

The Rockies didn't post their first shutout victory last season until June 3. That this one came with Jimenez in Phoenix is not a shock. He owns a 1.31 ERA at Chase Field, with 24 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings.

A flawless relief effort by Manuel Corpas and Street leaves the Rockies in position to win their first series at Chase Field since Sept. 2, 2007.

"That's exactly what we needed," said Street, who kept the ball from his save. "It was a great team win."

Troy E. Renck: 303-954-1301

or trenck@denverpost.com ------------------------------------------------------- Bringing the heat

The Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez says he loves playing in Arizona because the warm weather allows him to get a good grip on all of his pitches. His dominance chronicled:

....Rec.....IP....Ks....ERA....

Tuesday....1-0....7....8....0.00....

Career ....1-0....20M....24....1.31....


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 11, 2009

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