After Wednesday's comeback victory, Orioles leaning on revitalized Ubaldo Jimenez for series win

Ubaldo Jimenez will try to shake off some demons he's experienced in Toronto.

With one swing, Hyun Soo Kim changed the complexion of the Orioles’ series in Toronto.

The Orioles were well on their way to falling into a tie for the second AL wild-card spot. Instead, they still have a legitimate chance to actually host the wild-card game on Tuesday.

A win in Thursday’s series finale would mean the Orioles leave Canada tied with the Blue Jays for the first wild-card spot. And with four games left in the season, they now lead the Detroit Tigers by one game and the Seattle Mariners by two.

All thanks for Kim’s two-run, pinch-hit homer in the top of the ninth off Toronto closer Roberto Osuna. It gave the Orioles a 3-2 comeback win that put a jolt into their playoff hopes.

Now, the Orioles pin their hopes on right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to get them a series win.

The last time Jimenez pitched at Rogers Centre, on June 12, he was unable to get out of the first inning. He faced seven batters and allowed five runs on six hits before being pulled.

Jimenez has turned his season around since then, posting quality starts in four of his last six outings, recording a 2.85 ERA over that stretch. He’s found the command of his sinker and been able to effectively utilize his breaking ball off that.  

“When I get to the mound, I know I can compete and give my team a chance to compete on the scoreboard,” Jimenez said. “In that game, I wasn’t. I couldn’t get out of the first inning. But whatever happens. I never look back. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s done. There’s nothing you can do about it. You have to get ready for the next one.”

Since then he's proven he can handle the Blue Jays, though not yet at Rogers Centre. On Aug. 30, Jimenez held Toronto to three runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 5-3 win at Camden Yards.  

“It’s way different [now],” Jimenez added. “When things are going good, you feel confidence. You don’t have to get on the mound and wonder what is going to happen. Even before you get on the mound, you know you’re going to be able to compete and you feel good mentally, physically, everything is good. Right now, I feel confident. I know that I’m able to execute pitches when I need to and the fastball command is really good.”

eencina@baltsun.com
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