Wednesday’s First Pitch


Ubaldo Jimenez pitched very well, but left after seven innings, behind 3-1.

It didn’t matter.

The Rockies’ lone run before the eighth inning came off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki in the form of a solo home run to left field. A good sign for Tulo was that the pitch he hit out of the park was around his ankles, and he still hit it out.

Pinch-hitter Alfredo Amezega sacrificed himself, but an errant throw by Giants’ pitcher Jonathan Sanchez alowed Amezega to score Ryan Spilborghs, who was at third. With Amezega at third and Chris Iannetta at third, Dexter Fowler hit a ground rule double to deep right center field, scoring Iannetta. Again with two on, and nobody out, Carlos Gonzalez stepped up to the plate.

Much like he did last night against Tim Lincecum, Gonzalez was the hero of today’s ballgame. He lined a ground ball past the diving first and second baseman for the Giants, scoring Amezega and Fowler. Huston Street allowed one base hit in the top half of the ninth, but closed it out for his 14th save of 2011, and securing a Rockies sweep over San Francisco.

With the win, the Rockies move to 22-18, and 11-10 at home.

There are three main storylines that come out of Tuesday’s massive win. One, the Rockies are in first place in the NL West again. Two, it’s safe to say the offense is out of it’s dismal slump and has the confidence to hit again, and they have the confidence to hit the top pitchers in the league. Third, and finally, Jimenez is on his way back to dominance.

This morning marks the 38th day since April 1st that the Rockies have occupied first place in the National League West. The beautiful thing about being in first place is that now the team doesn’t have to worry how the Giants or Dodgers or Diamondbacks did. All they have to do is continue winning, and they’ll be set.

Which segues us into the second point – the team has it’s swagger back. In the five games starting with the 12-7 win in the first game against the Padres on Friday night, the Rockies have pounded out 33 runs on 48 hits, and just in time as they travel tonight to Philadelphia to face the always-difficult Philadelphia Phillies. Carlos Gonzalez went 5-for-19 in the past five games, with five runs scored, eight RBIs, and two home runs. Tulowitzki went 7-for-21 with three runs scores, eight RBIs, and two home runs.

I could go on and on about the stats of the other Rockies players the past five games, but suffice it to say, the Rockies are getting hot, and just at the right time before heading out to face the Phillies.

Another bright spot of Tuesday’s win was that while he didn’t return to his 2010 form, Ubaldo Jimenez was dominant. His final line looked like this: 7 innings pitched, 8 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 116 pitches. Had it not been for a Pat Burrell double that scored Mike Fontenot and Buster Posey, Jimenez could easily have won this game. He’s still winless, and while we can’t expect to see 2010 Ubaldo again, his line today suggests that he’s on the brink of securing win number one for 2011, and what should be the first of many.

Remember this win, Rockies fans. This could be the turning point of May, the light at the end of the tunnel the Boys of Summer have been looking for for 17 days.