Published February 26, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Colorado Rockies looked just fine to their manager, especially considering it was only the team's fourth day together as a full squad.
Ace Ubaldo Jimenez threw two scoreless if slightly shaky innings and the Rockies inaugurated the fancy new spring training facility they share with Arizona by beating the Diamondbacks 8-7 in 10 innings Saturday.
Ryan Spilborghs and Mike Jacobs each doubled in two runs off Arizona relievers in front of a capacity crowd of about 12,514 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the $130 million complex built by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
"We were very aggressive," Jim Tracy said. "We were everything that I want to see this team be as we move forward."
Colorado led 7-2 entering the ninth inning before young Adam Jorgenson surrendered five runs in the ninth.
"I was extremely pleased with what happened offensively," Tracy said, "and our two-strike approach was absolutely terrific."
Kelly Johnson hit a solo home run for the Diamondbacks. Non-roster invitee Paul Goldschmidt, who played at Class A Visalia last season, hit a two-out, three-run homer off Jorgenson in Arizona's five-run ninth.
Charlie Blackman homered off Daniel Stange in the 10th for what proved to be the winning run.
"You want to go out and play good and see a lot of good things and we did do that," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Obviously some things didn't go so good. It is a long spring, we have a lot of games. You like to win the game but it was good that they came back. "
Both teams moved their spring facilities from Tucson, where they had trained for their entire major league history, Colorado for 18 seasons and Arizona for 13.
Diamondbacks starter Aaron Heilman, a longtime reliever who re-signed with the Diamondbacks with the understanding he would get to compete for a starting job, gave up a hit in two scoreless innings. He threw the first pitch in the new park.
"It is a great complex and we are very fortunate to have a place like this to train," Heilman said. "To be able to throw out that first pitch is pretty special."
Lefty Zach Duke, another in the battle for a spot in Arizona's rotation, gave up a run on five hits in two innings, including Seth Smith's leadoff double in the fourth. Carlos Gonzales followed with an RBI single to make it 1-1.
The Rockies took the lead 3-1 in the sixth when Jacobs' double off the right field wall, off the Diamondbacks' Juan Gutierrez, brought in two runs.
Jimenez opened the game by walking Johnson, then giving up a single to Gerardo Parra. Stephen Drew hit a sharp grounder to Troy Tulowitzki's left, but the shortstop easily got to the ball, then threw perfectly to second baseman Jose Lopez for a double play. Chris Young ended the inning by popping out to first.
Wily Mo Pena singled with one out off Jimenez in the second, but Juan Miranda flew out and Henry Blanco grounded out to end the inning.
Tracy liked what he saw in his best pitcher's early outing.
"The thing I was the most impressed with was how clean he was and how smooth his delivery was, and how he was driving the ball down in the strike zone today," he said. "He really looked good. I didn't see him any time within the two innings he pitched ever try to overthrow a pitch, which brings him out of his delivery and throws that front side out of there."
Jimenez, 19-8 last season with a 2.88 ERA, pronounced himself satisfied after throwing most fastballs with a few sliders and a couple of changeups mixed in.
"I wasn't throwing that hard," he said. "I was only trying to go out there and hopefully throw strikes and get hitters out."
Jimenez said last year's success, despite a late lull that denied him a 20-win season, has left him feeling "more comfortable and more confident" this spring.
That could go for the entire Colorado squad, out to dethrone the World Series champion San Francisco in the NL West.
"We feel we have unfinished business," Jimenez said