Ubaldo Jimenez is currently sporting a 1.15 ERA. That means you generally don't need a whole lot of offense in order for him to get you a victory.
On Wednesday afternoon at a sold-out Target Field, the Rockies got him three runs early, and baseball's best pitcher did the rest as the Colorado Rockies cruised past the Minnesota Twins by a score of 5-1.
The Rockies put up three runs in the top of the first, as Twins' starter Francisco Liriano was not sharp early on. He struck out Carlos Gonzalez to get things started, but then Todd Helton singled and came around to score on a triple by Troy Tulowitzki. After hitting Ryan Spilborghs with a pitch, Miguel Olivo singled to center to score Tulowitzki, and Melvin Mora singled to left to score Spilborghs. After hitting Brad Hawpe with a pitch and walking Chris Ianetta to load the bases (Olivo got thrown out at third on the Mora single), Liriano struck out Clint Barmes to end the inning.
Those three runs were really all Jimenez would need, particularly considering that the Twins were so willing to help him out. The home team managed to hit into double plays in three consecutive innings. . .the second, third, and fourth. . .for the second night in a row. So, despite collecting eight hits against Jimenez, the Twins managed to scrape out only one run on the afternoon. That run came on a single by Drew Butera in the eighth inning. Spilborghs had touched up reliever Alex Burnett for a two-run homer in the top of the eighth, and that accounted for the final margin of 5-1.
The win for Jimenez ran his record to 13-1, the best start for a pitcher since Roger Clemens started out 14-0 in 1986.
Things don't look to get much easier for the Twins from here on out, as they now have to take a trip to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. Tomorrow night's game, slated to start at 6:05 PM Central, will see Nick Blackburn (6-3, 4.96 ERA) battling Joe Blanton (1-5, 7.28).
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