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Rockies

Trade Talk Surrounds Jimenez After Loss

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PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 24: Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies fields a ground ball out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 24: Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies fields a ground ball out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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PHOENIX (AP) — Ubaldo Jimenez had a tough day on the mound in what might have been his final start for the Colorado Rockies.

A 19-game winner a year ago, he fell to 6-9 after the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Colorado 7-0 on Sunday, then fielded the inevitable questions about reports that the Rockies could be willing to part with him if the offer was sweet enough.

“It doesn’t affect me,” he said of the trade talk. “I know it’s time for the rumors and there are going to be rumors. I will just try to go to the stadium and do my thing. Every time I try to get hitters out and what’s going to happen is going to happen. You never know, but I am ready for whatever.”

Jimenez had seemed to right himself after a shaky start to the season, but was off his game on Sunday, surrendering five runs on eight hits through five innings. It was the 14th straight loss on Sunday for Colorado, contributing to the team’s 4-10 record in the “rubber game” of a three-game series.

“It’s frustrating because we can’t seem to close the deal,” Jimenez said.

Manager Jim Tracy lamented the team’s inability to take advantage of early opportunities.

“The first three innings of the game, and we let them off the hook,” he said. “Potentially it could have changed the complexion of the game but we couldn’t do anything with it.”

Colorado, which fell 11 1/2 games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West, has had a consistency problem — period, Tracy said.

“You gotta pitch and there has to be consistency,” he said. “Consitency on the mound, consistency at the plate. It can’t be there whenever we feel like it. It has to be there every day, day in and day out, and it is not.”

Justin Upton went 4 for 4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs for Arizona.

Upton, who reached base five times in the contest, is 7 for 9 with nine RBIs in his last two games.

The Diamondbacks, finishing a 6-4 homestand, scored five times on eight hits in five innings against Jimenez, reportedly available for the right offer before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Micah Owings (4-0), given his chance as the Diamondbacks search for a reliable fifth starter, blanked the Rockies on two hits through five innings, striking out two and walking three. He also had an RBI single.

Manager Kirk Gibson indicated Owings will stay on as the team’s fifth starter, for now.

“I think he’ll probably get another start,” the manager said. “Why wouldn’t he?”

Arizona outscored Colorado 19-3 in the last two games of the series.

Xavier Nady had two singles and scored three times for Arizona, which remained four games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West.

Zach Duke, who had lost the No. 5 spot in the rotation, gave up three hits in four innings in relief of Owings for his first career save.

Upton, who brought his average up to .301, doubled in two runs in the third and tripled in another in the fifth, in what he said was “by far” the farthest he’d ever hit a ball and broke his bat.

He had matched his career best with six RBIs in Arizona’s 12-3 victory Saturday night, including his second career grand slam.

A month shy of his 24th birthday, Upton said he has learned to deal with the highs and lows of the game.

“You just have to be more mature about the game and understand that things are going to happen,” he said. “You’re not going to be great all the time — just sticking with it and continuing to do what you do.”

Jimenez, who lost to the Diamondbacks three starts earlier, breezed through the first 2 2-3 innings, striking out the first two he faced in the third. But Willie Bloomquist and Nady singled, then Upton doubled down the right field line to bring both runners home to make it 2-0.

The Diamondbacks scored another two-out run in the fourth. Miguel Montero led off with a single, then after two flyouts to center, Brandon Allen walked to bring up Owings, whose RBI single up the middle put Arizona up 3-0.

Nady led off the fifth with a single, then Upton’s triple put Arizona ahead 4-0. Chris Young became the first of three Diamondbacks to be hit by a pitch. With the infield in, Sean Burroughs hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Jonathan Herrera, who threw home for what appeared to be a sure out. But Upton evaded the tag with a head-first slide and the Diamondbacks led 5-0.

“They took a really good approach against me,” Jimenez said. “They were trying to go the opposite way. I got two outs, then they went the opposite way.”

NOTES: In their last three games against Jimenez, the Diamondbacks have scored 16 runs. … Gibson said closer J.J. Putz would be activated from the DL in time for Tuesday’s game at San Diego, and young Ryan Cook would be sent down to Triple-A Reno.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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