Ubaldo Jimenez no-hits Braves
Ubaldo Jimenez no-hit the Braves as the Rockies won 4-0 at Turner Field. It was the 16th time in franchise history the Braves have been no-hit. The last time was on May 18, 2004 when Arizona's Randy Johnson threw a perfect game. The no-hitter was the first in Colorado's franchise history.
JIMENEZ ‘EFFECTIVELY WILD'
Jimenez struck out seven, but walked six batters (which matched a career high), giving the Braves base runners in the game. Jimenez's stuff was outstanding, though, as he mixed in fastballs in the high-90s and repeatedly hit 100 mph.
"He's hard to hit at," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. "He can throw you, when he's behind in the count 2-and-0, a breaking ball, or a 3-1 breaking ball. It doesn't surprise me. This kid is going to throw another one or two. He's turned into a real good pitcher, not just a thrower."
Jimenez threw 128 pitches on the night and seemed to get stronger as he got deeper in the game.
"He wasn't tired," Cox said. "He could've thrown 150 pitches and he would've been throwing 98."
"The guy was throwing 100, and he was getting his breaking stuff over at will – changeups, curve balls, sliders," said third baseman Chipper Jones. "He was effectively wild. He's not a comfortable at bat because the next pitch could be in your ear, or right over the black. To be honest with you, we put them in play. It's not like he struck out 15 or 16 guys. We put them in play, but we couldn't get anything to fall."
The best chance Atlanta had for a hit was in the seventh inning, when Troy Glaus hit a ball that looked to be headed toward the gap in left-center field. But Dexter Fowler made a diving catch to his right to protect the no-hitter. "It looked good, "Glaus said. "The kid made a good play."
"Tonight he comes out and throws 100 mph in the first inning, and he's throwing them for strikes," said catcher Brian McCann, who made the last out in the game. "After my first at bat, I knew it was going to be one of those nights. His stuff was that good. We couldn't find the barrel on it."
Jimenez also snapped second baseman Martin Prado's 14-game hitting streak, dating back to last season. Prado entered the night as the game's leading hitter, but went 0-for-2 with two walks.
"I knew it was going to be a tough day for me after the first at bat," Prado explained. "He was pretty good. It was one of those days where everything happened the right way for them, for him too. His fastball's got a lot of movement."
"It's 100 miles per hour, but it's not straight," Jones said. "I can't tell you how many times he started the ball at the left-handers hip and brought it back over the inside corner. That's hard enough to hit when you're facing 90, much less 100. The 100 is not what gets major league hitters out, it's the ability to change speeds and locate, and he did that."
Jones said Jimenez's no-hitter was very different from Johnson's perfect game almost six years ago at Turner Field.
"Randy Johnson could have stood out there for 27 innings, and I don't think any of us what have put it in play," Jones explained. "He was near untouchable as anyone I've ever seen. For me to not even foul a ball off in three at bats against Randy, that was dominant. This was location. Tonight was location."
Jimenez tried to save energy by throwing from the stretch later in the game, even with no one on base. It really didn't matter how Jimenez was delivering the ball, the Braves were having trouble either way.
"He throws 2-1 curveballs that the bottom falls out," McCann said. "He's got a great changeup, and he's got a lot of confidence on the mound. You can definitely tell he's in a groove. He's got probably the best stuff in the game. We just couldn't find a knock."
The only good news for the Braves was the debut performance of left-hander Jonny Venters, promoted before the game to replace Mike Dunn on the Atlanta roster.
Venters was called up to be a long reliever in the bullpen, and that's exactly what he did in his debut. Venters went three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, with one walk, and two strikeouts. He had 31 pitches in the three innings, with 20 strikes, and only 11 balls. Venters' fastball was clocked as high as 95 mph on the stadium radar gun.
"He was perfect tonight," Cox said. "Ninety-five miles per hour with sink like he's got is something special. He's got a good breaking ball. He's hard to hit at, throwing that kind of sinker that hard. He's ready. He's ready to go. It was perfect to put him in that situation."
Venters admitted he had a lot of adrenaline flowing when he was called into the game.
"It was unbelievable," Venters said. "I felt good the first inning. The nerves were pretty strong, but after that I kind of settled down a little bit. Getting that first out helped a lot. It was awesome, just the whole experience."
Venters knows his performance might be overshadowed by the no-hitter thrown by Jimenez.
"That guy pitched his tail off," Venters said. "It's crazy. I was just excited to be out there."
Right-hander Tim Gustafson was called up to replace Venters in the Gwinnett rotation. He allowed six runs (four earned) on three hits in 3.2 innings to Charlotte Saturday night. The Knights held on for a 6-3 victory. Matt Young and Brent Clevlen had solo home runs for the Braves. Reliever Scott Proctor got another inning of work in, and he allowed one hit and struck out two. Craig Kimbrel continued his scoreless streak for the season with one inning, despite walking two. Kimbrel had three more strikeouts. He now has nine strikeouts in five innings this season.
Myrtle Beach lost to Salem 7-4. The Avalanche scored three runs off Pelicans' starter J.J. Hoover and then four runs off lefty reliever Chad Rodgers. Myrtle Beach got another home run from left fielder Gerry Rodriguez, his third of the young season. The Pelicans will try to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon at 4:05 with left-hander Jose Ortegano (0-1, 0.00) on the mound.
Rome lost 9-2 to Savannah as right-hander David Hale was touched up for seven runs in 1.2 innings. The Braves have now lost five in a row.
Atlanta closes out the series with the Rockies Sunday afternoon at 1:35 pm ET. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South HD. Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 8.64) will try to rebound from his tough start last Monday. He'll face left-hander Greg Smith (1-1, 5.25). Braves Live starts the coverage at 1:00 pm ET.
"Tomorrow is a big day, period, because it's the rubber match," Jones said. "We need to win the series, especially against a team that you figure will be in the hunt for a playoff spot. I'm sure the offense will go home and stew on this for a couple of hours, get a good night's sleep, and come out raring and ready to go tomorrow."
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
Atlanta Dugout Top Stories
Dustin Peterson's improvement continuesWho has likely been the player of the year in the Braves' farm system? Most likely Dustin Peterson in Mississippi.
Adonis Garcia giving Atlanta options at 3BBill Shanks has some impressive numbers on Adonis Garcia, who is giving the Braves options for third base for the future.
Braves get two prospects for CervenkaThe Braves have added two more young players with the trade of reliever Hunter Cervenka to Miami.
Jose Fernandez killed in a boating accidentMarlins ace killed in boating accident.
ScoutYesterday at 6:55 AM