Ubaldo Jimenez retired to final 17 Tampa hitters and became the first Baltimore Orioles pitcher in two years to throw a complete game.
If you had Ubaldo Jimenez throwing the first complete game by a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in two years yesterday, you won! Jimenez retired the final 17 hitters of the game to lead the Orioles to victory in a big game on Labor Day Monday. Jimenez’s line: 9.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
Jimenez got off to an inauspicious start when he gave up a first inning three-run homer to Tampa’s Morrison. That put the O’s in the hole, however they were slowly able to claw their way out. And a big part of that was Jimenez, who settled down almost right away. Incidentally it’s fair to note that Jimenez pitched the division-clinching game two years ago in a spot start out of the bullpen. He was solid that night, and even more so yesterday – the guy just steps up in big spots in September.
The O’s began their comeback in the fourth on Chris Davis‘ solo homer. Later in the inning with a runner at third base, Tampa’s Andriese uncorked a wild pitch which allowed a second run to score. A lot of people would point out that the Orioles didn’t exactly have to earn that run. While that’s true, those are the things that can happen when you put runners on base.
One inning later, Davis came to bat again with two runners in scoring position. His two-RBI double gave the O’s and Jimenez a 4-3 lead. Trumbo would plate an additional run later in the inning, and Jonathan Schoop later broke the game wide open with a two-RBI single up the middle. The O’s had given Jimenez a 7-3 lead, and he never looked back.
One very important part of that fifth inning was that with two outs the Orioles had runners at the corners. Chris Davis had a 2-2 count against him, and Tampa allowed Adam Jones to steal second base without a play. While Jones was credited for a stolen base, it was essentially defensive indifference. All things being equal, odds are that Jones doesn’t score from first on Davis’ subsequent line drive double. Those are small things in games that can make a difference between winning and losing.
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But the stat of the day was Jimenez’s complete game, the Orioles’ first in two seasons. You can’t downplate how impressive it is to retire 17 in a row. It’s also worth mentioning that Ubaldo Jimenez is a guy who numerous people have called to be DFA’d. He was almost traded at one point as well. Yet for at least one day, it’s a good thing he was on the bump for the Orioles yesterday. And as I said, he seems to step up in big games in September. And yesterday was certainly a big game.