June 8, 2011
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Hoping to get his first career shutout, Tim Stauffer had to settle for the next best thing.
Stauffer struck out eight in eight innings, both career highs, and was part of the winning rally that carried the San Diego Padres to a 2-0 win over Ubaldo Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Manager Bud Black went out to talk with Stauffer before he faced Chris Nelson with two outs in the eighth. The right-hander reassured the skipper he was OK, and got Nelson to fly out. Still, Black went with closer Heath Bell in the ninth.
"He knows maybe why I hit for him and brought in Heath. But I think he also knows now the complete-game shutout is in his future," Black said. "He threw the ball very well. That's as good as we've seen Tim all season, overall. The velocity, movement, all three pitches put into great use. Really some funny swings on the other side. He really had them baffled."
In the dugout, Black told Stauffer his day for a complete game was coming.
"I was hoping that would have been tonight," Stauffer said. "But a couple extra pitches that last inning and my spot coming up in a close game, I completely understand from his perspective making the move he did. I'm definitely going to keep working. Every time out, it's a goal to finish the game and go as deep as you can, so hopefully that's something that's going to happen here pretty soon."
Stauffer (2-4) had what he felt was his best game overall. He won for the second time in three starts, holding the Rockies to four hits and walking one. He had two of the Padres' six hits.
Stauffer and Bell combined on a five-hitter, with Bell pitching the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances. It was San Diego's third shutout after they tied the franchise record with 20 last year. Colorado was shut out for the third time.
Stauffer "pitched really well," Colorado's Todd Helton said. "It seems like I say that every night. He had a really good cutter and wasn't afraid to pitch in."
The Padres have won four of six to start an 11-game homestand, their longest of the year. It was just their third win in their last 11 home games against the Rockies. Alberto Gonzalez and Stauffer had consecutive RBI singles with two outs in the fifth against Jimenez.
Jimenez (1-6) was coming off his first victory of the season, 3-0 at Los Angeles, following a nine-start winless streak to start the season. He struck out a season-high eight and walked none in seven innings while allowing two runs and six hits.
"He deserved a heck of a lot better fate than he got," Tracy said. "He was terrific. He looks like the Ubaldo Jimenez of old."
Jimenez struck out the first two batters in the fifth, including former teammate Brad Hawpe. Rookie Kyle Phillips singled to right and took second on a wild pitch.
Gonzalez hit an infield single up the middle that was knocked down by second baseman Chris Nelson. The ball squirted away behind second base. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki picked it up as Phillips was coming home on the play and threw home, but catcher Jose Morales couldn't hang on.
Gonzalez went to second on the throw home and scored on Stauffer's single to left. "We couldn't get out of the inning," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
The Rockies, who beat San Diego 3-0 on Monday night, had runners on second base three times with two outs.