Jimenez denied: Cards beat Rocks 1-0 in 11 innings

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ST. LOUIS (AP)—After baffling the St. Louis Cardinals for eight scoreless innings, Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) lobbied manager Jim Tracy to keep pitching.

It wouldn’t have mattered because the Colorado Rockies never scored in a 1-0, 11-inning loss on Saturday. Once the clear front-runner for the NL Cy Young award, Jimenez wound up a tough-luck 19-game winner after falling short in his third try at 20.

“I came to him and said, ‘Just give me another try, I still have a lot left in my arm,”’ Jimenez said. “He was like, ‘No, we’re going to take care of you and it’s not worth it.

“He was trying to take care of me and hopefully he wants to see me for a long time in the big leagues.”

Pedro Feliz(notes) scored the winning run from second when right fielder Ryan Spilborghs(notes) bobbled the ball for an error on Matt Holliday’s(notes) single, giving the Cardinals their fourth straight victory. The teams combined for nine hits, five by Colorado.

The Rockies lost for the 12th time in 13 games and have not scored in their last 23 innings. Colorado was one game out of first in the NL West before the skid, and began the day eight games back.

“It’s really disappointing that we weren’t able to push something across for that guy,” Tracy said. “We had to pull the plug when we did. I had no interest in seeing him go any further.”

Jimenez allowed three singles, two of them infield hits, and struck out 10 with two walks. The 26-year-old righty set a franchise record with 214 strikeouts, four more than Pedro Astacio in 1999, after reaching double figures for the fourth time this season.

Jimenez was 15-1 when he started the All-Star game, making him the NL’s first pitcher to win that many at the break since Greg Maddux(notes) had 15 in 1998. But he was 2-6 in his last 11 outings despite allowing three or fewer runs eight times and two or fewer five times.

The no-decision left Jimenez at 19-8, a franchise record for victories, with a 2.88 ERA. He threw 116 pitches against the Cardinals, and the regular season ends Sunday.

“Sometimes I pitched good and didn’t get the runs and sometimes I got the runs and didn’t pitch good,” Jimenez said. “So it was kind of a crazy second half.”

Kyle Lohse(notes) allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings for St. Louis, his best showing by far and longest by an inning in nine appearances since coming off the 60-day disabled list. The right-hander has been bothered most of the last two seasons by a nerve injury in his right forearm after getting hit by a pitch in May 2009 and finished 4-8 with a 6.55 ERA.

“I wish I would have had more like that,” Lohse said. “It definitely feels good having an outing like that and I’ll take into the offseason as a positive and come back ready next year.”

Lohse altered his delivery a bit, pulling his arms closer to the body.

“I just felt like experimenting,” Lohse said. “It’s been such a long year, trying to get everything right and I just wanted to go have fun and see if something worked, and it did.”

“My stuff was definitely sharp.”

Franklin Morales(notes) (0-4) walked Feliz as a pinch-hitter and Colby Rasmus(notes) before Holliday lined a single to right. Feliz stopped between second and third to make sure the ball dropped, but scored on a close play after the Rockies’ third error of the game.

Jason Motte(notes) (4-2) had two strikeouts and a walk in a scoreless 11th.

Holliday was 2 for 5 and is batting .314, one point ahead of Albert Pujols(notes) for the team lead. Pujols, who walked as a pinch hitter, has led the Cardinals all nine seasons.

NOTES: Since going 4 for 4 on Sept. 29, Troy Tulowitzki(notes) is 1 for 11 and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded against Mitchell Boggs(notes) to end the 10th. Before the four-hit game he had been 0 for 13. … Stan Musial rode in a golf cart for a lap around the Busch Stadium warning track as part of the Cardinals’ campaign to have the 89-year-old Hall of Famer honored with the Presidential Freedom medal. Players from both teams lined up outside the dugouts and many shook hands with Musial. Fans waved cardboard Musial cutouts during the ceremony before the bottom of the sixth. … The Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez(notes) missed the game with a swollen hand. … St. Louis rookie Jon Jay(notes) played three innings in right field but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 11th, staying at .300.

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