Jimenez powers Orioles past Reds
CINCINNATI -- Ubaldo Jimenez threw nearly 200 combined pitches to get through his first two starts of the season.
He needed only 11 pitches to get through the first inning Wednesday night, setting the tone for his best outing of the season.
Jimenez pitched 7 2/3 innings and Jonathan Schoop’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado provided all the offense, lifting the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Jimenez (1-0) allowed two hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
“It’s good when you start hitting the zone right away,” Jimenez said. “I needed a start like this. I was able to get on top of the ball and get them to hit ground balls.”
With closer Zach Britton on the disabled list, the Orioles turned to right-hander Brad Brach, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save of the season and fourth of his career.
“Brad’s graduated to the point where he’s going to come after you,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Reds rookie left-hander Amir Garrett (2-1) went toe to toe with Jimenez in his Great American Ball Park debut after making the first two starts of his career on the road.
With his father, Darrow, in attendance to see him pitch for the first time in three years because of health issues, Garrett allowed two runs and seven hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts in seven innings.
“I did a very good job executive my pitches,” Garrett said. “My change was working very well. My slider was working well, and I was able to work both sides of the plate. A couple of times I missed my spots and balls got through. I just told myself to bear down.”
Garrett’s 12 strikeouts tied a club record by a rookie left-hander and the most since Dennis Reyes fanned 12 on August 28, 1998, at Pittsburgh. The club record for Reds rookies is held by Gary Nolan, who struck out 15 San Francisco Giants on June 7, 1967.
Garrett has produced quality starts in each of his first three career outings. The Reds lost despite getting 16 strikeouts combined from Garrett, Michael Lorenzen and Wandy Peralta -- one shy of a club record.
“Any time you see somebody do something like Jimenez did -- that’s a big effort on his part,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “And I don’t know if too many guys have had a more impressive start for a rookie than Amir. He’s come out of the gate throwing strikes.”
In his first two starts this season, Jimenez had good command of his fastball and breaking pitches but had difficulty putting hitters away. In those two outings, Jimenez threw 198 pitches in 8 2/3 innings.
On Wednesday, he got off to a much better start. Jimenez had 60 pitches through four innings while allowing only two hits.
“He filled up the bottom of the zone,” Showalter said. “His tempo kept the guys behind him engaged in the game. His secondary pitches were working.”
The Orioles handed Jimenez an early lead after Welington Castillo doubled and scored on Schoop’s single in the second. Baltimore led 2-0 after Machado’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Jimenez retired 10 of 11 heading into the sixth inning with only 70 pitches.
The closest Cincinnati came to scoring against Jimenez was when Adam Duvall, who hit a grand slam the previous night, made a bid to tie the score with a two-run homer in the sixth, but his drive was caught on the warning track in center by Adam Jones.
Jimenez rolled into the seventh with 86 pitches having allowed only two hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
In the eighth, Joey Votto represented the tying run with Billy Hamilton on third, but Donnie Hart got Votto to hit a pop fly to left that Trey Mancini leaned over the railing to snag for the final out.
Brach made sure there was little drama in the ninth, although he admitted to having no advance notice that he would get the opportunity to close. With Britton out, it was between him or Darren O‘Day.
“I had a little adrenaline going,” Brach said. “But after the first out, I was able to pitch like I always have.”
NOTES: Orioles RHP Zach Britton will undergo an MRI on Friday in Baltimore to assess his strained left forearm. ... Orioles OF Joey Rickard hit off a tee and threw for the first time since going on the disabled list with a left middle finger sprain. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto made his 1,255th career appearance, tying Ted Kluszewski for most in franchise history at that position. ... Cincinnati has set its rotation for the weekend series with the Chicago Cubs: RHP Tim Adleman (Friday), LHP Cody Reed (Saturday) and RHP Bronson Arroyo (Sunday).