Jiménez says today was “even better” than last outing (O’s lose 5-2)


Score: Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2

Recap: Ubaldo Jiménez failed to get past the fourth inning, allowing four runs and throwing 76 pitches. He gave up five hits, walked three batters, struck out four and threw a wild pitch. ... Chris Davis led off the bottom of the fourth inning with his first home run, a shot to left-center field off Aaron Sanchez. ... Logan Verrett struck out three in two scoreless innings. ... The Jays scored an unearned run off Darren O’Day in the eighth after an Alex Castellanos throwing error.

Need to know: Jiménez walked two batters, had three full counts and threw 27 pitches in the first. He threw 31 in a four-run fourth. ... Caleb Joseph failed to catch a popup near the mound in the fourth that went for a single and eventually was followed by four two-out runs. ... Chris Johnson raced back, reached over his head and made a nice diving catch of Steve Pearce’s blooper in foul territory. ... Hyun Soo Kim singled off left-hander Jeff Beliveau in the fourth inning. Any hit for Kim off a southpaw is newsworthy.

On deck: Wednesday vs. Rays in Sarasota, 6:05 p.m. on MASN


SARASOTA, Fla. - Ubaldo Jiménez failed in his last start to record the final out that would have allowed him to complete five innings. He never made it into the fifth today, running his pitch count to 76.

Jiménez allowed four runs and five hits, walked three batters, struck out five and threw a wild pitch. It’s fair to say that he deserved better after a popup from Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the fourth fell near the mound as catcher Caleb Joseph reached for it.

All four runs scored with two outs and they’re earned because the play was ruled a hit instead of an error. Justin Smoak flied out, Darrell Ceciliani singled, Gregorio Petit popped up for what should have been the last out, J.B. Woodman walked and Jon Berti followed with a looping two-run single into right field.

No ball was hit hard until Kevin Pillar lined a two-run double into left-center field.

Jimenez-Throws-Gray-Sidebar.jpg“That’s something that happens in the game,” Jiménez said. “I was trying hard to get out of that inning without any damage. That’s how the game goes sometimes. It’s not like I was thinking about it, but I wanted to get out of that inning for us because we got a couple of extra outs.”

Jiménez allowed three runs and two hits in 4 2/3 innings in his last start against the Pirates in Bradenton. He walked five batters and struck out five.

“Today was even better,” he said. “After the first inning I was able to throw all my pitches. I was cruising along. I was attacking the hitters. The split, the slider, the changeup, every pitch was working to both sides until the last inning. We got in trouble a little bit.”

Jiménez has walked 11 batters in 16 2/3 innings, but plate umpire Clint Fagan kept squeezing him today - especially in the first inning.

“They were close, they were close,” he said, smiling. “I mean, I was in the zone. I guess they weren’t close enough, but I thought I was pretty close. I just kept throwing until he started giving it to me.”

This was Jiménez’s first game appearance against the Blue Jays since he surrendered Edwin Encarnacion’s three-run walk-off home run in the wild card game. Encarnacion signed with the Indians, the Blue Jays didn’t bring many of their starters today and the thought never crossed Jiménez’s mind.

“No, no, I didn’t even think about that,” he said. “I just wanted to go out there and get my pitch count up and throw all my pitches. I think that’s what I did today, especially after the first inning.”

Jiménez isn’t concerned that he’s reaching these pitch counts in under five full innings.

“No, what we worry about is the pitch count,” he said. “I was able to throw 75 pitches. I did that in my last game, too. I could have gone even more, but that’s part of the game. I had to throw a lot of pitches in that last inning because I had to get a couple extra outs. There’s nothing you can do about that. But I got to my pitch count.”

Jiménez thought after his last outing that his fastball command was coming around.

“It has been,” manager Buck Showalter said before today’s game. “I actually think this is the best arm strength and consistent delivery he’s had since I’ve had him here, so I hope that bodes well. I’m happy with where he is. Talk to me after the game and we’ll see. The other team is going to tell me if that’s still doing well today.”

The Orioles are behind 5-2 in the top of the eighth inning. Logan Verrett followed Jiménez and tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Jimmy Yacabonis didn’t allow a run in the seventh, but Jake Elmore lifted a sacrifice fly off Darren O’Day in the eighth after third baseman Alex Castellanos’ throwing error.

The Orioles had two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh and Pedro Álvarez at the plate with one out, but Rule 5 pick Aneury Tavárez was thrown out trying to steal third base.

Today’s attendance: 7,601, the fourth sellout of the spring.

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