Late rally not enough for D-backs

Late rally not enough for D-backs

DENVER -- The D-backs have not been able to touch Ubaldo Jimenez this year.

They're not alone.

The Rockies right-hander continued his dominating 2010 season with another eight shutout innings in a 7-3 win over the D-backs on Wednesday night at Coors Field.

The loss was the third in a row for the last-place D-backs, who will try and avoid a sweep Thursday afternoon.

"We've got to salvage the series tomorrow," D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds said.

Jimenez also faced the D-backs on April 27, also at Coors Field, and held them to two hits in six scoreless innings. Of course, considering that Jimenez is 9-1, with a 0.88 ERA and a no-hitter so far this year, the D-backs are hardly alone in their struggles.

They did, however, have an opportunity to jump on him early when he was struggling to keep his offspeed pitches down.

Kelly Johnson doubled to lead off the game and, two outs later, Stephen Drew drove a ball deep to left-center that Carlos Gonzalez was just able to track down.

"It's part of learning how to pitch and becoming a better pitcher," Jimenez said. "You go out there and see what is working and what is not for you, and what hitters are trying to do -- what's their approach at the beginning of the game. Today, they were looking for the fastball right away and swinging."

Drew said that he thought the hit would fall for a double.

"He ran a perfect route," he said. "It's just kind of unfortunate because we had a guy on second and a 1-0 lead in the first. Would it have changed the outcome? You just don't know. You don't know what happens after that."

Reynolds wondered the same thing.

"He was leaving some of his pitches up, his offspeed, and we were able to put some good swings on it," Reynolds said. "We just couldn't get the big hit. Stephen hit the ball well, and Carlos made a great play. It's a different game if that ball falls in, I think. We rally around that run and maybe push a few more across, and maybe the outcome is different. But he got out of that jam and pitched well from there on out.

"We put some good ABs on him," Reynolds continued. "He made his pitches when he needed to, and that's why he's one of the best in the league."

Arizona starter Rodrigo Lopez did his best to keep his team in the ballgame.

Lopez, however, was his own worst enemy in the third when he walked Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. Both would come around to score when Brad Hawpe delivered a two-out triple to center to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead.

That made Jimenez even tougher, and it did not help matters that reliever Juan Gutierrez allowed three runs in the seventh -- including back-to-back homers to the first hitters he faced -- to increase the Colorado lead to 7-0.

Those runs made the three-run homer Reynolds hit in the ninth an afterthought, instead of a blow that would have pulled Arizona to within 4-3.

"I would obviously liked to have gotten it last night in a bigger situation," said Reynolds, who fanned with the tying run on base to end Tuesday's game. "Any hit helps. I've said for the past week that I'm having good at-bats, but just not getting any results. Hopefully, it will start to turn around for me."

The D-backs also hope their fortunes turn around quickly. Back-to-back losses was not the way they wanted to begin a nine-game road trip against the division-rival Rockies, Giants and Dodgers.

"Nobody said it was going to be easy," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've got plenty of this road trip left to rebound. It's not how you draw it up to start, but there's still plenty to salvage. We need to pick up the pieces and come out [Thursday] and salvage something in this series."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.