Jimenez comes up big for Baltimore in win over San Diego
BALTIMORE — Given a reprieve from his unwanted role as a long reliever, Ubaldo Jimenez wasn’t necessarily looking to work his way back into the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation.
He was more focused on survival.
Jimenez made the most of a spot start by pitching six effective innings, and the Orioles defeated the San Diego Padres 7-2 on Wednesday night for their 1,000th win at Camden Yards.
Mark Trumbo and Ryan Flaherty homered for first-place Baltimore, which also got two RBIs from Matt Wieters in earning a split of the two-game series.
Jimenez (4-7) gave up two runs and four hits, walking four and striking out seven. The right-hander lost his spot in the rotation earlier this month after a series of poor outings, including a clunker in Toronto on June 12 in which he yielded five runs and got only one out.
But Jimenez received this start after Mike Wright was demoted to the minors, and he overcame a shaky first inning to show some of the prowess the Orioles expected when they signed him to a four-year, $50 million contract in 2014.
“I just wanted to get the job done, for sure. There’s no more pressure than that,” Jimenez said. “I was just trying to find a way to survive and get back on my feet.”
Manager Buck Showalter approved of the performance, but offered no guarantees that Jimenez would be starting again in five days or so.
“We have two more (from) that spot before the All-Star break,” Showalter said. “We’re going to take it each day and put our best foot forward.”
Baltimore recorded its 27th win at home — most in the majors. The victory gave the Orioles a 1,000-959 record (including playoffs) at Camden Yards, their home since 1992.
Matt Kemp drove in two runs for the Padres, whose streak of scoring at least five runs in six straight games ended. Travis Jankowski had two hits, two steals and scored twice.
“We could have strung together better at-bats than we did tonight,” manager Andy Green said. “I thought all-around it was not one of our better efforts.”
Erik Johnson (0-3) allowed six runs and nine hits, including two homers, in four innings. He has surrendered 12 home runs in five starts this season, the first two with the White Sox.
“I’m on the cusp of breaking through and getting to the other side,” Johnson insisted.
When Jimenez fell behind 1-0 after facing only three batters, many of the fans began to grumble and more than a few booed. After he struck out the side in the sixth, however, most in the crowd of 23,785 cheered.
“It was big,” Jimenez said. “That’s probably the most exciting thing about baseball. They give you a chance to start and it’s a new game.”
Trumbo tied it with his 21st home run leading off the second, and the Orioles finally took control when Flaherty homered to ignite a three-run fifth that made it 6-2.
Protest filed: The agent for Padres closer Fernando Rodney has filed a protest to Major League Baseball regarding a scoring decision in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game, Green said. A grounder that hit first base and went through the legs of first baseman Wil Myers was ruled a hit, and as a result Rodney missed setting a team record for the longest stretch at the outset of a season without allowing an earned run.