BALTIMORE — During Ubaldo Jimenez’s marvelous second half to last season, the right-hander allowed just one homer over his final 12 starts as he helped the Cleveland Indians to the postseason.
In Jimenez’s Orioles debut on Wednesday night, he showed flashes of why the Orioles were confident in handing him a four-year, $50 million deal, the most lucrative given to a free-agent starting pitching in club history. But in his introduction to hitter-friendly Oriole Park, he was done in by the long ball against a team — the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox — he has struggled against in the past.
Jimenez allowed a pair of homers, including a game-winning two-run shot to first baseman Mike Napoli in the fifth inning, that sent the Orioles to a 6-2 loss in front of an announced 25,708 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles were handcuffed by Red Sox right-hander John Lackey, who held Baltimore to three hits over six innings. His only blemish was Nelson Cruz’s game-tying two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Jimenez was one strike away from getting out of the fifth unscathed before yielding Napoli’s home run. After getting ahead of Napoli 0-2 on a called-strike fastball, Jimenez threw another fastball in nearly the same spot that Napoli crushed to straight-away center field to give Boston a 4-2 lead.
The 30-year-old Jimenez pitched aggressively against a patient Red Sox lineup, striking out six – including four looking – but ended the night with the loss after allowing four runs on five hits with three walks over six innings.
In five career starts against the Red Sox, Jimenez is 1-3 with a 10.27 ERA.
— Baltimore Sun