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Ubaldo Jimenez allows one run in six innings as Orioles beat Blue Jays, 4-2

Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez faced the Toronto Blue Jays on the road Sunday for the second time this spring, and he might face them again in the first home series of the regular season.

Although Jimenez acknowledged he didn't let the Blue Jays see his complete arsenal, he still held Toronto to just one run on five hits through six innings, striking out three and walking one in the Orioles' 4-2 split-squad win in Dunedin, Fla.

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Jimenez became the first Orioles starter to go six full innings this spring.

"I feel the same as my last game," Jimenez said. "I was able to control the fastball. I threw a lot of fastballs. I pretty much feel like I'm ready and I can go out there and compete."

The only run off Jimenez came on a solo homer by Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson in the fourth, breaking Jimenez's streak of eight scoreless innings. Jimenez finished his outing retiring nine of the last 10 hitters he faced.

Jimenez worked his way out of trouble twice. In the first inning, he walked Russell Martin and allowed a single to Jose Bautista with one out, but struck out Edwin Encarnacion and Donaldson to escape unscathed. In the third, he had runners at second and third with no outs, but struck out Martin and induced two fly outs.

"I'm very close to being there," Jimenez said. "The main thing is having control of the fastball. Even when I fall behind in the count or I get in trouble, I come back and I'm able to throw the breaking ball for a strike or throw a fastball away and get hitters out. I didn't panic today, especially with a runner on third and second. Every time I get out there, I feel like I'm getting more comfortable and more confident with what I'm supposed to do out there."

Over his last two outings, Jimenez has allowed just one run in 11 innings. He's also issued just two walks in his last four outings, spanning 19 innings.

Asked whether he believes he's pitched well enough to earn a rotation spot, Jimenez said he's more concerned about getting ready for the season.

"You know, like I said the first day I came to spring training, I don't even think about the rotation or anything like that," Jimenez said. "The only thing I have in my mind is getting myself ready for the season like I have done the last 10 years, in the minors and majors. Once I get to spring training, my main thing is to get ready for the season. And this year wasn't different at all. I wasn't thinking about competing or anything like that. Once I get on the mound, of course you're competing, but I'm competing against the other team. That's the only thing I'm worried about."

Jimenez could start in the home-opening series against Toronto at Camden Yards from April 10-12, but that did not prevent Orioles manager Buck Showalter from pitching him against the Blue Jays twice on the road. Jimenez likely will make one more start this spring.

"The most important thing this spring is for him to pitch as many innings as he can pitch, regardless of who it's against," Showalter said before the game. "If a starting pitcher is on his game, it doesn't matter who he is facing."

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