It was a matchup of stud pitchers. Both showed why they are so studly, but both were also very shaky, though at different times.
The first time through the lineup, Ubaldo Jimenez gave up one run four hits and a walk, striking out no one. An RBI single by Dan Haren gave Arizona a 1-0 lead in the second inning. That's when Ubaldo the Ace showed up. He struck out Chris Young and Justin Upton around a Stephen Drew walk, part of a string of AB's that saw 7 of 8 hitters D-Backs grab pine after striking out. The Upton strikeout started a string of 13 consecutive batters retired by Jimenez.
Dan Haren's start was completely the opposite. The Arizona ace retired the firs 12 batters he faced, striking out four straight and five total through four innings. However, the Rockies started to chip away at Haren, showing slightly better results each inning.
85 - 65
4.5 Game Lead
Pyth W-L: 84-66
Magic #: 9
In the fourth, Colorado managed not to strike out once. In the fifth, Jason Giambi broke up the perfect game with a single before a Ryan Spilborghs double play. In the sixth, the Rockies drew their first walk, followed by an infield hit by Clint Barmes, marking the first time two baserunners reached base in an inning.
The initially innocent tapping finally broke through the dam in the seventh. Troy Tulowitzki led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second after Brandon Allen failed to scoop Stephen Drew's throw in the dirt. After Jason Giambi struck out, Ryan Spilborghs, Yorvit Torrealba and Ian Stewart singled to give the Rockies the lead. Jim Tracy then used Dan Haren's control against him in calling for a surprising suicide squeeze, surprising given Clint Barmes' difficulty with contact and Yorvit Torrealba's "speed" at third.
Troy Tulowitzki failed to hit a HR for the first time in five games, but Jason Giambi ensured the Rockies have at least one guy with a HR streak, bashing a 2-run HR off Haren in the eighth inning.
In recap of Haren's start:
4th inning: 1st inning without a strikeout
5th inning: 1st hit/baserunner
6th: 1st walk. 1st inning not retired in order. 1st inning with 2 baserunners.
7th: 1st inning with two hits. 1st inning with a run (3)
8th: 1st inning with XBH/HR
It is good to see adjustments being made against a top flight pitcher. Meanwhile, Jimenez finished the game having thrown 7 IP, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and three walks, striking out eight. For a guy that had difficulty locating his offspeed pitches early, that is a fantastic ace-type line.
Two other observations:
- First base defense quietly played a big role in the game. In the first inning, an errant throw by Ian Stewart was caught in the air by a leaping Jason Giambi, who spun in the air and tagged out Mark Reynolds on his way down. Had that play not been made, at least one run would have scored, extending Jimenez 20+ pitch inning. Who knows where the game would have gone from that. In the seventh, Brandon Allen failed to scoop on Tulowitzki's infield single, allowing him to move to second. While ensuing singles rendered all runs earned, Haren would have pitched differently had the leadoff hitter not been put into scoring position. In addition, Ian Stewart's go-ahead single was a ground ball four feet to Allen's right.
- The only way to score off of Dan Haren is to swing at the first pitch or be otherwise aggressive. Of the four hits in the 7th, three came on the first pitch. The other one came on the second, after a slider in the dirt.
Ubaldo Jimenez (.225) - 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 3 BB. 0-for-2, K, sac bunt.
Ian Stewart (.178) - 1-for-3, RBI, BB, K
Yorvit Torrealba (.155) - 2-for-4, RBI, R, K
Clint Barmes (.109) - 2-for-3, RBI suicide squeeze bunt
Troy Tulowtizki (.109) - 2-for-4, 2 R, K
Carlos Gonzalez (-.194) - 0-for-4, K, BB
Seth Smith (-.153) - 0-for-4, K
Ryan Spilborghs (-.036) - 1-for-4, R
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