First, Aubrey Huff(notes) hit what appeared to be a double-play bouncer to second base and then Travis Ishikawa(notes) lofted a high fly to right that the Colorado Rockies ace was so sure would land in Ryan Spilborghs’(notes) mitt that he started jogging off the field.
Huff was ruled safe and Ishikawa’s shot carried into the seats.
It was that kind of night for Jimenez—and also for the Giants, who beat Colorado 11-8 to snap a seven-game skid.
Jimenez said he lost his concentration, if not his cool, after first base umpire Paul Nauert ruled Huff safe.
“I was trying to overdo it after that,” Jimenez said. “I was trying to strike everybody out.”
Instead, he allowed a bloop single and walked two batters to load the bases before Ishikawa lofted an 88 mph split-finger fastball into the right field seats.
“I was even walking to the dugout because I didn’t think he hit it that good and it kept carrying and carrying,” Jimenez said of the first grand slam he had surrendered in 100 career major league starts plus one relief appearance.
Ishikawa, admittedly surprised to get the start at first base for just the third time this season, also figured his fly ball to right field was nothing more than a long out.
“I thought it was routine, until I saw Spilborghs drifting back,” Ishikawa said. “That’s when I started hoping, praying. When I saw it go over his head, that’s when I got really excited.”
It was the first career grand slam for Ishikawa, who was playing Frisbee in the outfield before realizing he was starting.
The final indignity for Jimenez was delivered by teammate Manny Corpas (2-5), who blew an 8-7 lead in the seventh after the Rockies had rallied from a 7-1 hole to put Jimenez in line for his 15th win.
Nobody’s won that many games before the All-Star break since David Wells in 2000. Jimenez will get one more shot at it Thursday against the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals. But gone is his shot at tying Denny McClain’s major league record of 16, which he set on the way to winning 31 games in 1968.
Corpas didn’t get an out and gave up three hits. He allowed Nate Schierholtz’s(notes) leadoff triple and Andres Torres’(notes) tying RBI single. Torres came around to score on Pablo Sandoval’s(notes) sacrifice fly off Joe Beimel(notes) to give San Francisco a 9-8 lead.
Jimenez’s ERA has jumped from 1.15 to 2.27 in his last three starts, during which he’s allowed 17 earned runs in 17 2-3 innings. Still, he has a win and two no-decisions in that span thanks to an offense that keeps bailing him out.
Colorado manager Jim Tracy said he wasn’t overly concerned about Jimenez’s hiccups.
“I saw a bad third inning and then I saw five others where they didn’t come close to running a run across the plate,” Tracy said. “He had a lapse. It happens. I think he’s still 14-1 and his ERA is in the low 2s. He’s still a pretty good pitcher in my mind.”
The Rockies once again bailed out their ace.
Carlos Gonzalez’s(notes) 14th homer, a two-run shot, in the bottom half of the third made it 7-3, and Ian Stewart(notes) tripled home another run with nobody out in the fourth but was stranded at third base. Stewart later left the game with a bruised right elbow after getting plunked by a pitch by Barry Zito(notes) in the sixth.
The extent of Stewart’s injury wasn’t known, although in an ominous sign, Tracy said, “He couldn’t bend his arm.”
Zito, who allowed six earned runs on eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, was pulled after allowing a one-out single and hitting Stewart. Dan Runzler(notes) gave up Hawpe’s pinch-hit RBI double that made it 7-5, Dexter Fowler(notes) tied it with a two-run single and Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly gave Colorado a short-lived 8-7 lead.
Huff had said that maybe facing baseball’s best pitcher was just what the Giants needed to break out of their funk, and he was right.
“When you’re in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and you’re facing one of the best pitchers in baseball, if not they best, we were thinking the same thing: Maybe this is something we need,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“You can’t say enough about the grit they played with tonight. Got the big lead there—anytime you cough up a lead like that, it’s disheartening. They didn’t show it, came right back and we took the lead. A lot of fight in this club.”
NOTES: Bochy was ejected in the sixth after arguing a close call at first base in which Nauert called the runner safe on a drag bunt by Jonathan Herrera(notes). … The Giants’ skid was their longest since dropping eight straight in June 2007. … Barmes extended his hitting streak to 11.