(Sports Network) - A pair of aces desperate for a win collide tonight in the Bay area, as Ubaldo Jimenez leads the Colorado Rockies into the finale of a three-game series with Tim Lincecum and the rival San Francisco Giants.
Jimenez is tied with Adam Wainwright of St. Louis for the National League lead in wins with 17. Yankees lefty CC Sabathia owns an MLB-best 18 victories this season, a mark Jimenez has been trying to reach since early August. In his last four starts, the All-Star right-hander is 0-3 with a decent 3.21 earned run average. He is trying to become the first 18-game winner in franchise history and said on the team's site the pursuit is not bothering him.
"No, no," Jimenez noted. "I don't think about No. 18. I just try to go out there and keep the score close to give my team a chance to win. I don't worry about No. 18. I want to win, but I don't put any number in my head."
The hard-throwing Dominican previously pitched in last Friday's 6-2 loss versus the Dodgers and was touched for three runs for the third consecutive start and nine hits in seven innings. Jimenez dropped to 17-5 in 26 starts this season and raised his ERA to 2.71. On a more deflating note, he has lost three straight road assignments, but is 9-4 in 14 starts as the visitor. Jimenez beat the Giants on August 4 with seven innings of one-run ball before falling into a funk, and is 5-4 in 13 career starts against them.
Colorado hopes Jimenez's road woes evaporate at AT&T Park, where it will shoot for a series victory after the Giants evened the series with Tuesday's 5-2 win. The Rockies, who won Monday's series opener and entered last night's second portion of this set having won three straight and seven of eight games, allowed three runs in the eighth inning with the score tied at 2-2. Matt Belisle was dealt the loss for giving up two of those runs, while starter Esmil Rogers was strong through six, allowing two runs and four hits.
"It's time to stop letting my team down in those situations," Belisle told the club's website. "There's no time."
Melvin Mora had two hits, including a home run, and two runs scored for the Rockies, who are 4 1/2 games behind in the wild card race. They are still seven games in back of San Diego for the NL West lead and will shoot for the first road series win since late June.
Lincecum hasn't been affiliated with the win column since July 30 and has lost all five starts since. His earned run average in those five August starts was a robust 7.82 spanning 25 1/3 innings pitched.
The two-time defending NL Cy Young recipient has already lost a career high nine games this season. Lincecum last toed the rubber in Friday's 6-0 rout at the hands of Arizona and yielded four runs in six innings of work. He did manage to strike out six batters and is among the league leaders in K's with 179 this season. He fanned more than 260 batters in each of his previous two seasons.
Lincecum, who is 11-9 in 27 starts in 2010 and 7-6 in 14 home tilts, lost to Colorado back on July 2 in a 6-3 decision. He lasted six innings that day and permitted four runs and nine hits. In 13 lifetime starts against the familiar Rockies, Lincecum is 5-5 with a 3.79 earned run average.
San Francisco must not worry about Lincecum's mediocre ledger in this series after pulling within four games of the slumping Padres for the National League West lead last night. It put the game away in the eighth inning, when Andres Torres led off with a home run and rookie Buster Posey later followed with a two-run double for a 5-2 edge.
"Every game from now on is going to be important. We're just going to try to go out there and win," Torres said.
Freddy Sanchez ended with two hits and two runs scored, and crossed the plate on Posey's two-RBI double in the eighth after reaching on a bunt single.
San Francisco, which won for just the second time in six tries, is still 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the wild card lead. The Phillies defeated Los Angeles Tuesday night at Chavez Ravine.
The Rockies have won eight of 14 meetings with San Francisco this season.