Jimenez solid in Rockies' loss to Giants
Wild Card lead shaved to two games with narrow defeat
SAN FRANCISCO -- Can't say the ball didn't bounce the way of Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez on Friday night. The problem was when Jimenez needed it to bounce, it didn't bounce at all.With two out in the fifth, Jimenez wanted his 1-2 curveball to Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval to hit the dirt near home plate. But the pitch wasn't low enough, and Sandoval hit it far enough for a home run -- the key blow in the Rockies' 2-0 loss at AT&T Park. A few inches lower, and maybe Jimenez (12-10) would have won the second straight match of pitching heavyweights. Instead, Tim Lincecum (13-4) pitched eight scoreless innings and gained revenge for a 4-2 loss to Jimenez and the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon. In the bigger picture, the Giants -- who dropped three of four at Coors Field after arriving a week ago -- trimmed the Rockies' cushion in the National League Wild Card race to two games. The Rockies remained four games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers. But what if that curve had hit dirt instead of Sandoval's bat? On Sunday in the eighth with a runner at third and one out, Jimenez spotted such a pitch properly, Sandoval grounded out and Jimenez escaped without a run crossing. This time, Sandoval ended up with his 20th home run of the season. Lincecum, who finished with eight strikeouts, dominated throughout. Jimenez escaped jams in the first, second and fourth innings. Whichever pitcher received the 1-0 lead was going to be energized. "I'm pretty happy with what I did out there," said Jimenez, who also gave up a broken-bat RBI single to Eugenio Velez in the sixth. "I made one mistake, and that was it." After Brian Wilson gave up one hit in the ninth but finished with his 31st save, the Giants had made the West clearly a three-team race and had given the Rockies just their third three-game losing streak since Jim Tracy took over as manager for Clint Hurdle on May 29.
DIGGING OUT OF A BIG HOLE
|These three teams overcame the largest deficits to finish in first place. No team has ever overcome a 15 1/2-game deficit to win a division or a league title, which is what the Rockies are threatening to do.|
|Boston Braves||1914||15 games|
|New York Yankees||1978||14 games|
|New York Giants||1951||13 games|
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.