NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Giambi hit a long homer against his former team and Ubaldo Jimenez overcame early wildness to pitch seven impressive innings, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 4-2 victory Friday night over New York in a rare trip to the Bronx.
Troy Tulowitzki homered again in New York City and Todd Helton hit an RBI single for Colorado. No. 9 batter Chris Iannetta walked three times and scored a run. The Rockies were swept by the Yankees in a three-game series in 2004, their only other trip to the Bronx.
A.J. Burnett (7-6) became the first pitcher in Yankees history to strike out four batters in one inning when he followed up three ineffective innings with the major league record-tying performance in the sixth.
The gangly right-hander struck out Iannetta and Carlos Gonzalez looking before Chris Nelson swung at a pitch in the dirt. The wild pitch bounced off catcher Russell Martin and went to the backstop, allowing Nelson to reach base. Helton struck out swinging to end the inning.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez was the last to strike out four in a game — in the eighth inning on June 3, 2010, against Minnesota.
Giambi answered the Bleacher Creatures after they gave him the rare honor of chanting a visiting player’s name in the first inning. He crushed a drive into their section deep in the right-center bleachers with an out in the second. Fans did not throw the ball back as is usually done for an opponent’s home run.
It was Giambi’s first visit to New York since he came with Oakland in 2009, the season after finishing his seven-year contract with the Yankees. He finished 3 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored before being lifted to applause for a pinch runner in the ninth.
Tulowitzki wears No. 2 in part as a tribute to Derek Jeter and was hoping the Yankees’ shortstop would get his 3,000th hit while the Rockies were in town. But Jeter is on the disabled list with a calf strain and it is not certain that he’ll even be ready to be activated when he is eligible to come off the DL on June 29.
The Big Apple has been good to Tulowitzki this year. He homered in four straight games against the Mets in April and has hit five of his 14 homers in New York. He connected off Burnett in the fifth.
Jimenez (3-7) walked Curtis Granderson twice in the first three innings and Alex Rodriguez drove him in both times — a double in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third. But after the third, Jimenez started relying more on his changeup and a curveball.
Jimenez, whose last outing was cut short by a leg cramp, allowed two runs and four hits to lower his road ERA to 2.16 in six starts this season.
Huston Street gave up a hit in the ninth and got two fly balls to die in the strong wind to finish for his 23rd save.
Burnett walked five, all in the third and fourth innings, but he limited the Rockies to two runs on an RBI single by Helton and a run-scoring groundout to Ty Wigginton.
Helton hit a one-out single with the bases loaded, but Tulowitzki ended the threat with a double-play grounder to Rodriguez.
Wigginton grounded out to third for a 3-2 lead after Giambi walked and Seth Smith doubled to open the fourth.
Burnett allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked five.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Bartolo Colon (hamstring), threw 31 pitches in his first bullpen session. He also ran sprints in the outfield for the second consecutive day and is scheduled to throw 50 pitches in a simulated game Monday. … Giambi hit 95 home runs at the old Yankee Stadium.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)