Rockies survive rain, lift Ubaldo to 12th win
Rox's offense offsets ace's worst start; game called after six
DENVER -- It appears Ubaldo Jimenez has a weakness, and Mother Nature cut right to its core on Friday night.
As rain turned to hail and hail to wind, then wind to rain again, the Rockies' ace battled the elements at Coors Field as he managed to lead Colorado to its first win in the last four games.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Against a potent Blue Jays lineup, the precipitation made Jimenez look -- arguably for the first time this season -- mortal. And though he allowed three runs, including a homer and a deep triple, and his ERA climbed above 1.00 for the first time since late May, the reliable righty was effective enough to earn his Majors-best 12th win of the season in the 5-3 six-inning victory.
"It wasn't easy to be out there," Jimenez said. "I didn't have any feel for any of my pitches, even my fastball. I was trying to throw hard and I couldn't. ... The ball just slipped out my fingers most of the time. Everything was wet. I couldn't push off the mound."
The home run marked the first time in consecutive outings that Jimenez (12-1, 1.16 ERA) allowed a long ball this season, and the three runs allowed were a season high. The six-inning start was the shortest since April 27 for Jimenez, and the game was delayed and eventually called after the sixth.
"I've seen him have to deal with situations like that last year, and it doesn't work out at all," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "It's just a mess. So here's part of the growth of the man we've been talking about all year. He goes out there and grits out six innings and leaves us hanging there all night and gives us a chance to do for him what he's been doing for us all year."
The Rockies' problems started early -- Jimenez walked Vernon Wells to lead off the second before allowing a two-out RBI triple to Lyle Overbay -- and the hard-hitting Blue Jays had good swings against Jimenez all night.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero (5-3) endured his fair share of mistakes battling the elements, including a solo homer to left fielder Ryan Spilborghs and an RBI double to second baseman Clint Barmes in the second.
"I haven't seen a Rockies offense like that for a while," Tracy said. "That was Rockies offense. That was offense being played by the individual at the plate for the benefit of every other guy on this team that had the same shirt on."
Jimenez's rocky second inning proved to not be a fluke, as Aaron Hill smacked his ninth homer of the season over the left-field wall with Fred Lewis on first, giving Toronto the lead again in the third.
Catcher Miguel Olivo drove in Spilborghs (3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored) in the fourth with a single before center fielder Carlos Gonzalez lined a homer over the right-field wall in the fifth to give Colorado a 4-3 lead.
"When you're hitting, you have to see the ball when they're throwing 90 mph, and it looks like 110," Gonzalez said. "The water is falling in your eyes and it's really hard."
The Rockies tacked on an insurance run in the sixth with a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Seth Smith before the rain forced the umpires' hands.
"It's unfortunate we had to play in that kind of stuff, but I think the forecast is worse for tomorrow," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "We had to get one of those games in. Unfortunately, we came out on the short end of it."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.