Minneapolis - With his old-school stirrups pulled high and a 100-mph fastball in his holster, Ubaldo Jimenez is taking pitching back to a bygone era where gunslingers like Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax dominated the landscape.
Almost as impressive as his historic start to this season is the list of aces Jimenez has taken down to get there. Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum lost their duels in May, and Francisco Liriano proved to be no match on Thursday.
Jimenez allowed one run on eight hits in Colorado’s 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins, improving to 13-1 on the season, the best start by a pitcher since Roger Clemens went 14-0 in 1986.
Jimenez struck out four and walked two, dropping his earned-run average to 1.15 and improving to 10-0 when he takes the mound after a Rockies loss this season.
“What a performance, again,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said after another stellar outing. “The mindset of this man and his awareness. This is not the first time that he faced a front-line guy from another ballclub and did exactly what he did today.”
Ryan Spilborghs hit a two-run homer, and Troy Tulowitzki added an RBI-triple and two runs for the Rockies, who avoided a three-game sweep in front of 40,741 fans at Target Field. Tulowitzki left the game in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch. An initial examination showed no break, but he will have an X-ray in Colorado.
The highly anticipated matchup against Liriano (6-4) was practically over from the start. Liriano allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts in seven innings for the Twins.
Not a bad line on most days. Not nearly good enough against Jimenez, who became just the second pitcher in the last 80 years to win at least 13 of his first 14 starts, according to STATS LLC. Clemens went 13-0 in ’86 and Lefty Gomez also went 13-1 for the Yankees in 1932.