(Sports Network) - Suddenly slumping right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez has a few positives going for him today when he gets the call for the Colorado Rockies in the third and final game of their series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates at Coors Field.
First, the 26-year-old is unbeaten in eight starts this season on home turf in Denver, going 6-0 with a 3.52 earned run average across 53 2/3 innings of work. Second, he's never lost to the Pirates in four career starts, going 2-0 while holding Pittsburgh batters to just 18 hits while striking out 21 in 28 innings.
Still, the season's dominant first-half phenom has struggled along with his team of late, going winless in two post All-Star Game starts while lasting just 7 1/3 combined innings and allowing nine hits and 12 runs with nine walks.
He retired only six batters in a 10-2 loss at Philadelphia in his last start five days ago, walking six and striking out two. It was his first loss since May 9.
Pittsburgh counters with 28-year-old lefty Paul Maholm, who's alternated wins and losses in his last five decisions.
The Mississippi native fell to 4-6 on the season with a 13-3 loss at Texas on June 23, then bounced back with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on June 28 at Wrigley Field.
He lost, 12-4, to Philadelphia on July 3, then split a pair of post-break starts with a complete-game win over Houston on July 18 and a 5-3 loss to San Diego on July 23.
Maholm, who's making the 148th start of his career, is just 1-4 against Colorado in six outings with a 5.20 ERA.
He is 2-2 on the road this season.
On Wednesday, Garrett Jones homered twice as part of a four-hit night and drove in three runs as the Pirates overcame an early injury to pitcher Ross Ohlendorf to win, 6-2.
Neil Walker added a two-run single as Pittsburgh posted back-to-back road wins for the first time since May 14-15 against the Cubs.
Ohlendorf was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning. With a runner at third and two outs, Tulowitzki lined a ball off the side of Ohlendorf's head and the ball bounced into right field. Carlos Gonzalez scored on the play for a 1-0 Colorado lead.
Ohlendorf went to a local hospital, but a CT scan came up negative and he was diagnosed with a contusion and abrasion.
Sean Gallagher (1-0) fanned four batters over three innings to get the win.
Aaron Cook (4-7) allowed six hits and five runs over 2 1/3 innings to drop his second straight start.
Gonazlez homered for the Rockies, who have lost eight in a row, their longest skid since dropping eight straight from June 22-30, 2008.
Colorado won six of nine matchups with the Pirates last year and has dominated this series at home over the past two seasons, having gone 9-3 against Pittsburgh at Coors Field since 2008.