Ubaldo Jiménez puts Orioles' momentum to ultimate test

For a couple of innings, it looked like Orioles starter Ubaldo Jiménez was going to build on the momentum that his team had created during its six-game winning streak, but it didn’t take long for him to morph back into the frustrating pitcher he has been for most of his career in Baltimore.

He retired seven of the first eight batters he faced, then allowed six of the next seven batters to reach base in a six-run third inning that erased the Orioles’ early 2-0 lead.

He got the first out of that inning, then allowed four hits and a walk before he got another one. That was enough to tie the game, but he looked like he might work out of the jam right there after he struck out Kyle Seager and went up 0-2 against Mitch Haniger.

No such luck. Haniger fouled off one 0-2 pitch and then scorched the next one into left field for a two-run double.

That was all manager Buck Showalter could stand. He pulled Jiménez after 2 2/3 innings and brought on Miguel Castro. The reliever got catcher Mike Zunino to pop up to short center. Unfortunately for the Orioles, the ball found the one spot that shortstop Tim Beckham and center fielder Adam Jones couldn’t cover and two more runs crossed the plate.

That didn’t suck the air out of the Orioles offense, which continued putting pressure on former Orioles prospect Ariel Miranda. The Orioles closed to within 6-5 on back-to-back homers by Welington Castillo and Craig Gentry in the fourth, and tied it in the fifth on a solo shot by Jonathan Schoop.

If you’re keeping track of this sort of thing, Jiménez has pitched a total of 12 innings over his past three starts and allowed 17 runs on 23 hits.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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