ANAHEIM, Calif.: It was not exactly a new way for Ubaldo Jimenez to lose, but it was a variation from his norm.
Jimenez gave up four runs in the first inning Tuesday night to kick start the Angels toward a 9-6 win over the Indians at Angels Stadium.
And just in case four runs wasn’t enough to ensure the defeat, Jimenez got punked for four more in the fourth inning.
“”We put up a fight in the second half of the game, but we were in a very deep hole in the first half,’’ manager Manny Acta said. “”Ubaldo didn’t have very good stuff tonight; he threw too many fat pitches over the middle of the plate in the first inning.
“”He didn’t have good command of the fastball on the inside of the plate, and they took advantage of it.’’
Jimenez (9-12, 5.62 ERA) has made 24 starts this season and allowed first-inning runs seven times. His record is 2-5 when he gives up at least one run in the first and 7-7 when he doesn’t.
It took six batters before Jimenez got an out in the first. Mike Trout began the inning with a double and scored seconds later on Torii Hunter’s single. Albert Pujols drew a walk to put runners on first and second, and Kendrys Morales followed with an RBI single.
Mark Trumbo also singled home a run before Alberto Callaspo’s line drive was caught by Shin-Soo Choo in right for the first out. But Jimenez hit Howard Kendrick with a high, inside pitch and one out later, Chris Iannetta beat out an infield hit to score the fourth run of the inning.
What went wrong for Jimenez?
“”I don’t even know,’’ he said. “”They had a good approach. They were swinging at the first pitch right away. And they also hit good pitches. It’s not like my pitches were up.’’
Acta probably would disagree with Jimenez’s last statement.
“”There’s a pattern for everybody,’’ the manager said. “”He didn’t throw first-pitch strikes, and he threw too many pitches out over the plate. His first-pitch strikes are well below average right now.’’
Jimenez steadied the ship for the next two innings but the wrath of the Angels fell on him again in the fourth, when Eric Aybar led off with his sixth home run of the season, and Pujols capped the rally with his 26th homer of the year, a three-run blast.
Chris Seddon replaced Jimenez to start the fifth and worked 21/3 innings. Even though he gave up five hits and a walk, he gave up only one run.
He was bailed out of a seventh inning situation – runners on third and first with one out – by Frank Herrmann, who threw a double play ball.
Jimenez was charged with eight runs, eight hits and two walks. He also threw a wild pitch but kept it to one hit batter.
“”I’m a work in progress,’’ Jimenez said. “”Sometimes I have a good game, sometimes a bad game. I know I’m inconsistent. I’m not having a good year.’’
The Tribe got the advantage of the hit batter issue. When Zack Greinke’s fastball hit Carlos Santana in the backside with two outs and nobody on in the fourth, plate umpire Phil Cuzzi warned both benches. Circumstances certainly would lead a reasonable person to conclude that Greinke (1-1, 5.54 ERA) was retaliating.
The problem for him was the next batter: Michael Brantley whacked a drive over the wall in right for his fifth homer of the year, giving the Indians their first two runs.
“”Everybody in the ballpark knew that Kendrick wasn’t hit on purpose,’’ Acta said. “”And everybody knew that Santana was hit on purpose. By giving the warning, the umpires were just covering themselves. If they think someone is hit intentionally, they can throw the pitcher out of the game; it’s in the rule book.’’
In the seventh, the Tribe got two more runs on Brantley’s infield hit, singles by Jason Donald and Jack Hannahan that loaded the bases, plus Ezequiel Carrera’s RBI infield single and ground out by Jazon Kipnis that scored a run.
The Angels still had a five-run lead, but with their bullpen, the Indians weren’t totally out of it with two at-bats to go.
Sure enough, with LaTroy Hawkins pitching the eighth, Brantley got a broken-bat single with two outs, and Casey Kotchman hit his 11th homer of the year to trim the lead to three runs.