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Jiménez dominates, Orioles shut out Reds 2-0

Ubaldo Jiménez allowed only two hits over 7.2 IP on the way to his most impressive start of the season as the Orioles manage their first shutout of 2017.

Baltimore Orioles v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Orioles entered tonight’s game in a virtual three-way tie for first place with The Boston Red Sox and The New York Yankees. Early season standings don’t matter per se, but banking wins in April is just as valuable as winning down the stretch in September. You’ll want to collect as many as you can because you don’t have to give ‘em back.

In what looked like a one-sided tilt on paper, Ubaldo Jiménez managed to go 7.2 spectacular innings against impressive rookie, Amir Garrett. This is why baseball is not played on paper, folks. Ubaldo would end the night with a line of 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, and 13 ground ball outs. He even tallied a single at the plate! That was apparently enough to bring the Orioles’ pie out of retirement, as Ubaldo got a face-full in his postgame interview.

Amir Garrett Ks The Orioles 12 times; The Orioles don’t care

For all intents and purposes, this should have been Amir Garrett’s game. The rookie sensation looked flat-out impressive. He struck out the Orioles 12 times in seven innings pitched. He did allow seven hits, but they weren’t sequenced particularly well, and he only surrendered one walk.

A line of 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 12 SO won’t earn you a pitcher “loss” very many times, but tonight happened to be a pitchers’ duel to remember. The Orioles would score in the second and the fifth innings, striking for one run each time.

Mark Trumbo lead off the second inning by reaching on a base-knock. After Chris Davis struck out, Welington Castillo came up to bat and lashed a 2B down the third base line. Castillo seems to like hitting doubles. Nobody stop him, please.

The Orioles had runners on second and third with one man down, and Jonathan Schoop lined a fastball right back through the box, scoring Trumbo, and advancing Castillo to third base. J.J. Hardy and Ubaldo Jiménez both struck out, stranding Welington, but the damage was done: 1-0 in favor of the Orioles.

The fifth inning began with J.J. Hardy this time with the single. There might be something to getting your lead-off guy on base. Because The Orioles were playing in a NL ballpark, pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez would come up to bat next. He tried his damnedest to bunt Hardy over, but ended up poking at three pitches, fouling the third one off for a strikeout.

Enter Trey Mashcini. Trey worked a beautiful at-bat where he saw nine pitches and eventually smashed a single. It would be his only hit on the night (you can’t homer every day!), but it was an important one. Adam Jones stepped to the plate with two on and one down, and he did the unthinkable: he drew a walk. You read that right. Adam Jones walked. On purpose. Probably.

Now, with the bases loaded, Manny Machado did all he needed to do in order to plate a run by hitting a long sacrifice fly. Trumbo would follow with a K, but the damage was again done: 2-0 in favor of The Orioles.

U-bald-a-be kiddin’ me!

Look, Ubaldo is the butt of many, many jokes and negative remarks by Orioles fans. He probably deserves them because he’s not a good pitcher anymore. But every once-in-a-while, he throws an absolute gem, and you wonder where this guy’s been hiding his chops while taking his licks.

Ubaldo looked deliciously filthy tonight in Cincinnati. Maybe it was because he’s comfortable pitching against The Reds—he entered the night with a 3-0 record and 3.00 ERA against them lifetime in six starts. That’s probably not the case, though, as all of his previous starts against Cincinnati came when Ubaldo was a member of the Rockies and a perennial Cy Young contender early in his career. That guy is gone.

Ubaldo induced plenty of weak contact from The Reds, proving you don’t have to strike out 12 batters to be successful as a pitcher. All game long (at least into the eighth inning), Jiménez stabbed backwards, and lunged forwards, delivering splitters and sliders to the Orioles infield in the form of ground balls. He tallied 13 total.

The Reds only really threatened to put runs on the scoreboard in the second inning. Adam Duvall started things out by popping the ball up to Jonathan Schoop. One down. Then, however, Eugenio Suarez singled on a sharp ground ball to the right side. Scott Schebler tried to bunt his way on base, but failed. Suarez would advance to second on the play, but there were two down.

Jiménez threw a walk to Zack Cozart, and then Tucker Barnhart singled on a strange play to Chris Davis originally ruled an error. Davis failed to glove the ball as it screamed down the first base line. Jim Hunter and Mike Bordick were adamant that CD saved a double and at least one run, and the official scorer would eventually change his or her mind to agree with the MASN broadcast team.

Facing a bases-loaded threat, Ubaldo would face... the opposing pitcher. Whomp, whomp. NL baseball can be sort of boring sometimes. Ubaldo got Amir Garrett to roll over for an easy 6-4 groundout. Crisis averted.

Jiménez handed the game over to the bullpen in the eighth inning with two down. Because he went so deep into the game, the injured and taxed O’s pen was able to keep The Reds off base entirely. Lefty specialist Donnie Hart got Joey Votto to pop out foul to defensive replacement Craig Gentry, and Brad Brach came in for an easy nine pitch save. Game over.

The Orioles will play their first rubber match of the season tomorrow at 7:10 pm EST, with Wade Miley taking the mound against old friend, Scott Feldman.


Who was the Most Birdland Player for April 19, 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Ubaldo Jiménez (7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, line drive 1B at the plate)
    (780 votes)
  • 0%
    Donnie Hart (0.1 IP, crucial lefty stuff, Hold)
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Brad Brach (1.0 IP, nothing allowed on nine pitches, first Save of the season)
    (5 votes)
789 votes total Vote Now