Ubaldo bears down, escapes tricky situation
Prior to striking out side in fourth, O's starter delivers 10th career RBI
PHILADELPHIA -- It's about making the batters work. At least, that's Ubaldo Jimenez's approach to good pitching.
And when the Phillies backed Jimenez into a corner in the fourth inning by putting runners on second and third with no one out, the right-hander's response was to attack in the O's eventual 6-4 victory.
Jimenez pounded the zone with 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, setting down the next three hitters in succession and preventing the runners from advancing any further.
"I was able to execute pitches," Jimenez said. "It's not easy to get out of that situation, but I was able to locate the fastball and throw all the breaking balls for strikes."
As big of a situation as that may have seemed in the fourth inning, the stakes magnified that much more by the end of the game, as the two runs Jimenez prevented from scoring in the fourth inning ended up being the difference.
Though Jimenez did relent three runs with two outs in the seventh inning off a home run by Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, he was otherwise strong, throwing 6 2/3 innings on 98 pitches, allowing eight hits and striking out eight. Perhaps more impressive than any of those numbers though was the goose egg he left in the walks column, just the second time he's done that this season.
"When he gave up a hit, he got right back in the strike zone," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I thought him and [catcher] Matt [Wieters] were on the same page. It's been something that's been a real focus of his. He's got a live fastball that moves a lot. He's just got to trust it sometimes."
Jimenez confirmed Showalter's assertion, saying his control was a culmination of his season-long approach.
"That's what I'm trying to do every time," Jimenez said. "I have to make the batter earn it instead of walking guys and getting bad counts. That's what I want to do out there."
Wednesday's victory improved Jimenez's record to 5-3, but raised his ERA marginally from 3.19 to 3.27. It also proved to be a memorable day for Jimenez on the other side of the plate, as he notched his first hit of the year in the top of the fourth with an infield single, for which his hustle down the line was rewarded with an RBI.
A lifetime .115 hitter, the single was Jimenez' first hit since 2011, his last year in the National League. And though he does have 10 RBIs to his credit, he said he believed this situation was considerably rarer than the others.
"That's one of the things that you're going to see once in a lifetime, probably," Jimenez said. "That was a fluke. But I was able to run as hard as I could and get the RBI."