SAN FRANCISCO - Ubaldo Jimenez felt the hype from Denver to the Dominican Republic. From his Facebook friends near and far, and even over the e-mail channels.
The soft-spoken Rockies ace keeps living up to every bit of the positive attention he’s receiving.
Jimenez pitched a four-hitter to become the majors’ first 10-game winner this year, outpitching Tim Lincecum to lead Colorado past the San Francisco Giants 4-0 in Monday’s highly anticipated Memorial Day matchup.
“My Adrenalin was really high,” Jimenez said. “Everyone was expecting that game – my parents, neighbors, everyone back in my country, and in Denver, too. ... Everyone was expecting that game and waiting to get in front of the TV.”
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The 26-year-old pitcher didn’t disappoint.
Clint Barmes hit a two-run single in the second inning that held up for Jimenez (10-1), who struck out nine, lowered his big league-best ERA to 0.78 and extended his career-best scoreless innings streak to 26. He pitched his fourth career complete game, second career shutout and second this year.
Lincecum (5-2), making his 100th start and matched up with Jimenez for the fourth time, walked five for the fourth straight start and the Giants had their four-game winning streak snapped.
In a game featuring two of baseball’s top right-handers, Jimenez improved to 3-1 head-to-head against Lincecum, the reigning two-time NL Cy Young winner. Jimenez retired nine straight before a two-out double to Pablo Sandoval in the ninth and a walk to Aubrey Huff that brought manager Jim Tracy to the mound for a visit. Jimenez got Juan Uribe on a liner to left to end the 128-pitch gem in 2 hours, 38 minutes.
Jimenez became the 15th pitcher since 1952 to win 10 or more games by June 1, with Brandon Webb the last to do it in 2008.
Lincecum, a former University of Washington ace, lost back-to-back starts for just the fourth time in his career and first since Sept. 20 and 25 of 2009.
“I’m continuing to struggle here and it’s hard to find my way out of it,” Lincecum said. “I’m trying to take something out of every game and not dwell on the negative stuff too much. I went through a struggle like this my first year but this is still longer than I was hoping it would be.”