Rockies’ Jimenez throws no-hitter |

Rockies’ Jimenez throws no-hitter

Colorado Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez delivers to the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 17, 2010, at Turner Field in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)
AP | FR28435 AP

ATLANTA – Three hours before the first pitch, Dexter Fowler offered this assessment of Ubaldo Jimenez.

“Everything is different when he pitches,” Fowler said. “There’s no one like him.”

Ubaldo Jimenez forever put his stamp on Rockies’ history Saturday night, throwing the franchise’s first-ever no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. He finished with a career-high 128 pitches, 72 strikes, his night ending with a bear hug from Todd Helton after Brian McCann grounded out to second base on 1-2 count.

As far back as 2007, during the Rockies’ magical run to the World Series, teammates began predicting that Jimenez would deliver a no-no. There were little bits of brilliance the first few years,

snippets that left mouths agape. But this season, everything felt different.

The Chief, as he is called by manager Jim Tracy, entered spring training as the ace. He welcomed the challenged, embraced it. That personality and attitude defined him Saturday.

He was effectively wild. Through his first 83 pitches, he had more balls (42) than strikes (41). It wasn’t until he fanned pinch-hitter Eric Hinske in the eighth inning that he had more strikeouts (seven) than walks (six).

The no-hitter was unique in his adaptation, his maturation. Beginning in the sixth inning, Jimenez threw exclusively from the stretch. He felt like he had better command.

“After I got in the stretch, I started throwing strikes,” he said.

The Braves only briefly threatened to spoil Jimenez’s historic night.

That one chance came in the seventh inning. Troy Glaus led off and smoked a 97 mph fastball to the left-center gap. Off the bat, it sounded like a home run. But as was the case with so many flyballs on this night, it began dying in the brisk wind. Dexter Fowler knew this, and never conceded the play.

He ran roughly 40 yards, making a fully outstretched diving catch.

“When he dove, I thought, “Wow!’

It was unbelievable,” Jimenez said.


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