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Ubaldo in mid-season form in Rockies’ loss

Submitted by Sports on March 8, 2011 – 8:30 amNo Comment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies and Dodgers staged a pitchers’ duel on Monday — with Colorado’s ace Ubaldo Jimenez blanking the Dodgers for three innings, and L.A.’s Ted Lilly throwing two flawless frames before yielding a go-ahead run to the Rockies. Both bullpens kept the game knotted at 1-1 through the sixth inning, before the Dodgers rode a three-run homer from Jerry Sands to a lead they would not relinquish, ultimately earning a 7-1 win.

Jimenez showed no ill effects from the infected cuticle on his pitching thumb that caused him to miss his last start. He gave up one hit and one walk, and only allowed two balls out of the infield — plus he hit 98 on the radar gun.

“I felt good. I was happy to be out there,” Jimenez said. “I couldn’t pitch my second game, so I couldn’t wait for today. In the first game, I didn’t want to throw hard. But today, I let it go. I threw my slider and my curve, and they were sharp. I think I’m close.”

He was followed by Greg Reynolds, who pitched 3 1/3 innings, giving up one run on two hits in his first three innings — and four runs (three earned) on three hits, a walk, and his error fielding a sacrifice bunt in his final 1/3.

Lilly was perfect until the third — when he struggled a bit — but was able to minimize the damage. He gave up three hits in the inning, but yielded only one run. Lilly struck out two in 3 1/3 innings.

“I had some nice plays behind me,” Lilly said. “Furkey [Rafael Furcal] made two up the middle, and [Rod] Barajas on the bunt by the first batter.”

Mike McDougal, Blake Hawksworth, Tim Redding and Kenley Jansen combined for 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, including three no-hit innings from Redding.

The Rockies broke through in the third with a leadoff double to left by catcher Jose Morales. Third baseman Hector Gomez plated him with a single to center, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jimenez. Willy Taveras then singled to left, moving Gomez to third. But Lilly escaped further damage, stranding Gomez at third with a strikeout-caught-stealing double play — with shortstop Hernan Iribarren at the plate and Taveras trying to swipe second. Gomez was left standing on third two innings later, after a two-out triple with pitcher Greg Reynolds hitting behind him.

The Dodgers evened the score after Jimenez’s exit, getting to Reynolds with a two-out rally in the fourth. Hector Gimenez knocked a two-out single up the middle, and Juan Uribe laced a double down the left-field line to bring him home. Andre Ethier’s single to center in the sixth was the Dodgers’ only other hit before subbing out their entire lineup.

Sands’ three-run shot in the seventh gave the Dodgers the lead, and Xavier Paul’s solo shot in the eighth gave them some extra breathing room. Sands tripled with one out in the eighth, but was stranded at third.

Rockies up next: It’s two-for-Tuesday, as the Rockies play a pair of split-squad games — against the Cubs at home at 1:10 p.m. MT and on the road vs. the White Sox at 1:05 p.m. MT — with the chance to use more than a dozen pitchers. Jorge De La Rosa will start at home, followed by Clayton Mortenson, Rafael Betancourt, Franklin Morales, Edgmer Escalona, Billy Buckner, and Juan Nicasio. Felipe Paulino will start in Glendale, as he makes his case for a potential fifth starter’s spot. He’ll be followed by Eric Stults, Claudio Vargas, Matt Reynolds, Matt Daley, Sean White, and Bruce Billings.

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