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Ubaldo Jimenez Takes Mound To Put Rockies Back On Track

(Sports Network) - One of the National League's premier pitchers will attempt to slow down perhaps the hottest team in baseball right now when the San Francisco Giants wrap up a short two-game series with Ubaldo Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies this afternoon at Coors Field.

San Francisco has been on a major tear over the past month, having amassed a sensational 21-5 record since July 5. The surge has given the Giants a three- game lead in the NL Wild Card race and moved Bruce Bochy's club within one game of first-place San Diego in the league's West Division standings.

The Giants delivered their fourth straight win and 10th triumph in 12 games with yesterday's 10-0 shellacking of the Rockies. San Francisco pounded out 19 hits in support of Jonathan Sanchez, who threw six shutout innings to pick up his eighth victory of the season.

"When you're on a stretch like this, you go out there feeling like you can win every game," said first baseman Travis Ishikawa, one of three San Francisco players with three hits in Monday's game.

Andres Torres and Buster Posey each had three hits and two RBI to lead the Giants' offensive outburst, with Pat Burrell also driving in a pair of runs on the night. Torres, Burrell and Freddy Sanchez all had home runs in the rout.

Sanchez (8-6) didn't need much help, as the left-hander held the Rockies to three hits and racked up nine strikeouts before leaving with a 7-0 lead.

"I think more than anything he is effectively wild," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said Sanchez. "His command isn't the best, but it works to his advantage."

Colorado's Aaron Cook (4-8) wasn't nearly as effective, allowing five runs and eight hits in only three innings of work.

The Rockies, who had won four in a row heading into this set, will now turn to Jimenez -- the major league's leader with 16 wins -- in hopes of bouncing back today.

Jimenez endured a rough month-long stretch in which the 2010 All-Star Game starter surrendered four or more runs five times in a six-start span between June 23-July 24, but returned to his early-season form with an outstanding performance this past Thursday. The standout right-hander limited Pittsburgh to one run and four hits over seven sharp innings in a 9-3 Rockies' victory to increase his win total to 16, one shy of matching a Colorado single-season record.

The Colorado ace had gone 2-1 during that previously mentioned six-game stretch, but recorded a substandard 7.24 earned run average over that time period. Prior to facing the Pirates, he lasted a season-low two innings and issued a whopping six walks while permitting six runs in a July 24 loss at Philadelphia.

Jimenez will be putting an undefeated home record on the line in today's matchup, having gone 7-0 with a 3.26 ERA in nine Coors Field starts thus far in 2001. However, the 26-year-old was tagged for seven runs in six innings by the Giants in a no-decision in Denver on July 3.

In 12 overall meetings with San Francisco, Jimenez is 4-4 with a 3.39 ERA. One of those wins took place at AT&T Park on May 31, when he fired a four-hit shutout and struck out nine Giants hitters.

Promising youngster Madison Bumgarner gets the call for San Francisco this afternoon and will be trying to avenge a loss to the Rockies at Coors Field last month. The rookie did throw seven innings in that July 1 outing, but was touched for four runs (three earned) and nine hits in his team's 7-3 setback.

Bumgarner rebounded from that defeat by putting together a four-start win streak in which he allowed just five runs (four earned) over a combined 26 2/3 innings. That run came to an end with a 5-0 loss to Florida on Thursday, with the 21-year-old giving up three runs in a six-inning stint.

The 2007 first-round pick does sport an impressive 4-1 record and a 1.87 ERA in five road starts since being called up from the minors in late June.

Monday's win was the Giants' 13th in its last 15 road tests, but the club had gone 2-8 in its last 10 visits to Coors Field prior to last night's result. Colorado has taken six of the 11 overall meetings in this year's season series.