CLEVELAND (AP) ― All Ubaldo Jimenez could do to try and shake off his slow start to the season was keep throwing strikes. It paid off against the Seattle Mariners.
The right-hander pitched six innings, and the Cleveland Indians pounded out a season-best five doubles to beat the Mariners and ace Felix Hernandez 9-3 on Wednesday night.
“This is the best Ubaldo has thrown the ball this year,” manager Manny Acta said of the former All-Star, who has been wildly erratic since being acquired from Colorado for four players at the July trade deadline a year ago.
Hernandez (3-3) gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in only 3 2/3 innings. He and Jimenez combined for a 34-minute, 59-pitch first inning that ended with Cleveland ahead 4-1.
Cleveland Indians right fielder Choo Shin-soo hits in the seventh inning on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
“Felix just had an off day,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of the 2010 AL Cy Young winner. “He’s human. I think sometimes we forget about that.”
Jimenez (4-3) gave up five hits and three runs over six innings. He threw 107 pitches ― 27 in a long first inning ― walked two and struck out four.
“I was able to attack the strike zone better,” said Jimenez, who bounced back from giving up seven runs and walking five in only 4 1/3 innings in a loss five days ago to the Red Sox in Boston.
“It’s good to come back from a bad outing. It gives me more confidence.”
Jimenez has worked with pitching coach Scott Radinsky to regain his form of early 2010, when he pitched a no-hitter and opened the year 15-1 for the Rockies. He has gone 18-23 since.
“It’s all about mechanics, and we’ve been working on it every single day,” Jimenez said.
Travis Hafner hit his fifth homer and drove in three runs, while Choo Shin-soo had three hits in Cleveland’s third straight win.
Dustin Ackley had three hits, including a two-run homer, to extend his hitting streak to 12 games for Seattle, which dropped to 1-5 on a 10-game trip. The Mariners are 1-11 away from home since April 28.
Jimenez opened the game by yielding singles to Ackley and Michael Saunders, then uncorked a wild pitch that put runners at second and third. Ackley scored when Ichiro Suzuki grounded out.
“He did a very good job of getting out of that inning,” Acta said. “He was in command the whole time, even after those first two guys got on. He threw 16-of-24 first-pitch strikes and looked relaxed.”
San Diego 4, LA Dodgers 2
Tampa Bay 2, Boston 1
Minnesota 11, Detroit 7
Washington 7, Pittsburgh 4
Toronto 8, NY Yankees 1
Miami 8, Atlanta 4
Cincinnati 6, NY Mets 3
Texas 4, Oakland 1
Philadelphia 9, Chicago Cubs 2
Houston 8, Milwaukee 3
Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Baltimore 4, Kansas City 3
LA Angels 7, Chicago White Sox 2
St. Louis 4, San Francisco 1