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07/08/08 1:06 AM ET
Jimenez solid as Colorado wins on road
Right-hander shuts out Brewers for seven innings at Miller Park
By Dave Fultz / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- After watching a four-run lead almost disappear, manager Clint Hurdle was able to breathe a sigh of relief at the end. A tremendous start by Ubaldo Jimenez, a steady effort from his offense and one very good inning from his closer gave Hurdle and the Rockies a 4-3 win on Monday night as they opened a four-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park. "It was great, it was my first [road] win," Jimenez said. "And it's not only about me, the team won. We lost yesterday and we started with a good one tonight, we won." Jimenez, who has struggled mightily on the road this season, had a great outing in Milwaukee. The right-hander baffled the Brewers for seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven. He struggled with his control early on, walking four batters in the first two innings, but worked quickly and was able to keep his pitch count down the rest of the way. He faced just 16 batters to get 15 outs in his last five innings of work. "[Jimenez] was very efficient three through seven," Hurdle said. "Four walks in the first two innings, got himself in some jams but was able to get out of them. He settled down, he made pitches and used all of his pitches." Jimenez improved to 4-8 on the season and his ERA dropped to 4.21 with the performance. Seth McClung (5-4) struggled with his control and picked up the loss for the Brewers, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks over 4 2/3 innings. "[Jimenez] was good. He fell behind, but he made pitches," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "When he's in the strike zone, he's going to do well. When he's not, he's going to get kind of like Seth did [on Monday]." Jimenez faced the minimum three batters in four of his seven innings of work, even if he did it a little unconventionally. He allowed a single to Ryan Braun in the third inning and another to Corey Hart in the fourth, but was able to pick both off at first base. "I was surprised when I got them," Jimenez said. "That was my first pickoff. We've been working on that since I signed and tonight I got two. Probably [my first] since Double-A." "He threw a pretty good ballgame," Hart said. "It didn't help that we got picked off, but even with that, we didn't have many baserunners. They were able to get the timely hits and got a pretty good lead." Colorado's offense was never able to break through and put a crooked number up on the scoreboard, but it did manage to get just enough runs for the win. The Rockies scored single runs in four straight innings. In each of the fourth and fifth innings, they managed to score against McClung, and the club kept it going in the sixth and seventh against Milwaukee reliever Carlos Villanueva. "That's the way the game is," Hurdle said. "When you have opportunities [to score] you'd like to cash in, but you don't always cash in. That has been one of the areas that has caused us some problems this year. "But we had four straight innings with a run and went into the eighth inning with a four-run lead." The Brewers threatened in the eighth inning, roughing up Rockies reliever Taylor Buchholz following a couple of defensive miscues. Joe Koshansky, who is filling in for injured Gold Glove first baseman Todd Helton, made an error that allowed the leadoff batter to get on, and then a pop fly by Craig Counsell dropped on the infield at the feet of three Colorado defenders. "We just need to catch the ball," Hurdle said. "That's poor defense that really should not happen at this level, somebody needs to take charge on the play. It really wasn't an issue of [Buchholz] pitching that bad tonight. The first two guys got on and they shouldn't be on base. "He had balls that should have been outs." After the first two runners of the inning reached base and Buchholz induced a double play that scored a run, Prince Fielder smashed a two-run homer to make the score 4-3. "He would have liked to have put Fielder away and give up one, but he's our guy and he deserved to face him. He'll be alright," Hurdle said. The Rockies managed to kill the Brewers' momentum as Manny Corpas came in to get the last out of the eighth inning and Brian Fuentes worked a perfect ninth to record his 14th save of the season. "That's as good a save as [Fuentes] has had all year," Hurdle said. "It's a tight situation, the game is swinging a little bit, and he's able to come in and get three up, three down. "We were able to add some drama to it and keep everybody in the ballpark," he said with a chuckle. Matt Holliday hit his 14th home run of the season in the seventh inning to wrap up the scoring for Colorado. He led the offense, reaching base three times, with two hits and two RBIs. The All-Star extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is now batting .345 with 14 home runs and a whopping .426 on-base percentage on the season. "I think he's in as good a place as we've seen him in a long time," Hurdle said. "He's getting such better reads. He's working good counts, seeing the ball so much better and using the whole field. "It is fun watching him hit right now, he's a very confident hitter."
Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.