Even by the standards enigmatic Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez has set in his three-plus years in Baltimore, it’s hard to pick an outing that caused more heartburn than Wednesday’s no-decision against the Boston Red Sox.
"A little frustrating because he was really good early on and it looked like he was going to pitch like a veteran should pitch with a lead, and then it just kind of left him there and he couldn’t seem to get his delivery back together," manager Buck Showalter said. "I know it’s frustrating for him. Created some anxiety in the game."
It was supposed to be simple, with his offense hitting five home runs and chasing the opposing starter before most of the Fenway faithful could get settled in their seats.
Instead, Jimenez, who started well, didn’t make it out of the fifth inning and couldn’t earn the win in the Orioles’ 12-5 victory.
He got through the first two frames smoothly, but in the third inning, Boston cobbled together a run on two hits and a sacrifice fly. In the fourth inning, three more runs scored on a home run by third baseman Pablo Sandoval that barely made it over the ledge of the Green Monster.
The bullpen stirred in the fourth inning and needed to get back to work in the fifth when Jimenez walked the leadoff man, Andrew Benintendi, on four pitches. Three batters later, he had conceded his eighth hit, issued his second walk and gave way to Mychal Givens.
One of those three men he passed on to the bullpen scored, so Jimenez ended the day with the same final numbers as he did in his first start, with five runs in 4 1/3 innings, keeping his ERA at 10.38.
"It’s one of the worst feelings, especially when you make the guys in the bullpen come into the game that early," Jimenez said. "Of course, you want to get a 'W,' but that’s what hurt the most — when you make those guys come into the game.
"I was doing good. I had my fastball command was good, breaking ball was good, but I was throwing way too many pitches per hitter. I think that’s something that I need to work on. In these last two games, I haven’t found a way to put hitters away, even when I get ahead. I’ve been throwing way too many pitches, and I made my pitch count go up. Then I start leaving everything flat."
Sweet relief: Givens and Donnie Hart combined for 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief, striking out four between them while allowing three hits.
"I thought Mychal Givens was one of the keys to the game tonight," Showalter said. "Came in and kind of got some momentum back to us."
Hart, a left-hander who fares much better against lefties than righties, survived a stretch of three straight right-handed batters, retiring two after a single by shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Vidal Nuno pitched a scoreless ninth.
Amen corner: Right fielder Seth Smith made an ambitious sliding attempt on a line drive down the foul line Tuesday, but came up short. In the first inning Wednesday, he tracked a fly ball that trailed into the stands right to the wall and leaned in for a difficult catch over the fans.
Quite a duo: Center fielder Adam Jones and first baseman Chris Davis each homered in the second inning, the league-high 38th time they’ve gone deep in the same game.
Jones’ home run was his 224th as an Oriole, giving him sole possession of fourth all-time in franchise history. He passed Rafael Palmeiro.