04/16/08 2:40 AM EST
Jimenez has rough fifth inning in defeat
Righty's throwing error, walks lead to all six Padres runs
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Quite well, it turned out. Wolf didn't give up a hit until two were out in the seventh, and the Rockies would suffer their second two-hit loss and second shutout of the season, 6-0, at PETCO Park in front of 24,439.
Wolf (1-0), who hadn't faced the Rockies since 2004 and had faced just four current players at any point, gave up one hit and struck out nine in seven innings, throwing 112 pitches, in his third start since undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery last Sept. 5.
The Rockies suffered a 3-0 shutout against the Cardinals in their third game of the season and managed just two hits against the Diamondbacks in a 7-2 loss in their home opener the following day.
Wolf walked the second and third batters of the game, but struck out Holliday swinging, killed that threat and kept frustrating the Rockies, who fell to 1-3 on what will be a nine-game road trip.
It was the first meeting of the teams since an epic 13-inning Rockies victory last Oct. 1 in a game to determine the National League Wild Card, and Wolf stole the storyline. There was some booing of Holliday, whom Padres fans believe never actually touched the plate with the winning run last year. But fans saved most of their energy to cheer Wolf.
"The first time you face a guy in a long time, you're not going to feel real comfortable as far as what his pitches are doing and how he's doing it," said Holliday, who struck out three times -- twice against Wolf -- and saw his hit streak ended at eight games. "We let him off the hook a little bit in the first inning, and he made some pitches, so credit to him."
Brad Hawpe broke up Wolf's bid for the first no-hitter in Padres history and what would have been the third against the Rockies. On May 30, 2006, Hawpe's eighth-inning leadoff double spoiled Chris Young's no-bit bid in a 2-0, two-hit Padres victory at PETCO.
Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2) had a credible start going until he committed a throwing error and unraveled during the Padres' six-run fifth inning that saw Brian Giles, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jim Edmonds knock two-run doubles against him. Jimenez wasn't as clean as Wolf, but he held the Padres scoreless and threw just 54 pitches through the first four innings.
But in the fifth, with one out and two on -- because of two of the three walks Jimenez issued in the inning -- Jimenez dashed to his right to field Wolf's bunt, even though third baseman Garrett Atkins was screaming that he had the play. Jimenez's throw to first base forced second baseman Jayson Nix, who was covering first, to leap to catch it.
"For sure, I got to it on time but I got [the throw] up a little bit," Jimenez said.
Jimenez's error left the bases loaded for Giles, who rapped a changeup off the right-field wall for a 2-0 lead. Kouzmanoff and Edmonds hit fastballs -- both 96 mph -- off Jimenez, who struck out five but gave up six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
"I'd get two strikes, and I was so anxious to get him out that I'd start rushing," Jimenez said.
"He got outside himself," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "You saw him pitching early, four innings. And then it seemed to be harder, quicker, faster."
Wolf slowed his heartbeat.
"It was a tight game, and you sort of take a breath of fresh air when you score six," Wolf said. "When you throw the ball well, you're doing your job."
With Wolf seemingly healthy and productive, the Rockies will be seeing plenty of him in the NL West. That's fine with Holliday, who drove a Wolf pitch to deep right field for an out to lead off the seventh.
"Not to take anything away from him -- he made his pitches," Holliday said. "But the next time we face him, I think we'll have a better game plan of how to face him."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.