Rockies hand Reds 5th straight loss

CINCINNATI — Ubaldo Jimenez was feeling good warming up before his start at Cincinnati and it carried over to his best game in over a month.

Jimenez reached 100 mph on the Great American Ball Park scoreboard radar several times and still was getting to 97 in the eighth inning, and his power was enough to send the Reds to their fifth consecutive loss with a 6-2 win.

“Even in the bullpen, I felt like the ball was flying out of my hand,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t throw 100 down there, but I knew I was going to throw hard.”

Jimenez turned in his longest outing in more than a month and Seth Smith homered as the Rockies picked up their third consecutive win following a three-game losing streak.

Ian Stewart added a two-run single to help drop the Reds into a tie for last place with Pittsburgh in the NL Central Division. The Reds have lost 11 of their last 12 games.

After allowing a run in each of his first two innings, Jimenez (8-9) settled down and strung together six shutout innings before turning the game over to the Rockies bullpen. The right-hander finished with five hits and two runs with eight strikeouts, leaving manager Jim Tracy beaming.

“I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am with Ubaldo,” Tracy said. “He’s a guy who’s capable of getting us to our closer.”

The stint was Jimenez’s longest since he threw his only complete game of the season in a 6-4 win over Seattle on June 12. He hadn’t gone more than seven innings in any of his next eight starts.

Left-hander Joe Beimel, acquired from Washington just before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, pitched the ninth for Colorado.

Reds third baseman Scott Rolen went 0-for-4 in his first game with Cincinnati after being acquired Friday in a trade with Toronto. Rolen, who arrived in Cincinnati from Oakland about 4 a.m., turned down the chance offered by manager Dusty Baker to take the night off.

“I want to play,” he said. “They traded for me to play. I didn’t want to come here and sit. I want to be out there. I think I’m in there (Sunday), too.”

Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead on Joey Votto’s RBI groundout. Jonny Gomes made it 2-0 with a solo home run to left field, his 11th of the season, on a 100 mph pitch.

“You don’t run into arms like that very often,” Baker said. “We’re scuffling big-time, and that guy on the mound help us keep scuffling.”

Colorado wiped that out with a three-run fourth. Stewart drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, snapping a 0-for-12 slump, and Carlos Gonzalez gave the Rockies a 3-2 lead with a sacrifice fly. That was all Jimenez needed.

“I think the Gomes home run gave him a wakeup call,” Tracy said. “After the sacrifice fly gave us the lead, he was a different pitcher. That’s what we want to see.”

Smith hit a solo home run to right with one out in the fifth, his ninth homer of the season and first since July 16 at San Diego. Colorado added a run in the sixth when Brad Hawpe led off with a single and scored all the way from first on Troy Tulowitzki’s line drive on a hit-and run that sailed through the spot just vacated by the second baseman Brandon Phillips.

That was the last hit allowed by Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey (2-3), who gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings as the Reds suffered their 11th loss in their last 12 games.

“He threw good early, but then he had that one bad inning,” Baker said. “He made just a couple of mistakes — the home run and the pitch to Stewart with the bases loaded. He’s still learning.”

Colorado added a run on Clint Barmes’ sacrifice fly off of Carlos Fisher in the ninth.

Notes: Colorado improved to 10-0 when Gonzalez starts in center field. … Hawpe’s single snapped a 0-for-15 slump. The All-Star right fielder had been hitless in his previous four games. … Before Saturday’s game, the Rockies placed right-hander Juan Rincon on the 15-day disabled list because of stiffness in his pitching elbow, making room on the roster for LHP Joe Beimel, who was acquired Friday from Washington. … The Reds had given up at least one first inning run in each of their last four games and 92 this season, the most in the majors, 20 more than the next team, San Diego.

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