BALTIMORE -- All spring, an understated Ubaldo Jimenez knew he had something to prove this season. And the right-hander started off a pivotal 2015 with a fantastic outing, tossing seven dominant innings in the O's 7-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday.
"He was awesome," catcher Caleb Joseph said of Jimenez, who held Toronto to one single in the scoreless debut. "He was like a video game out there. I haven't caught very many Major League games, but that may have been one of the [most fun]. Just especially what he's been through over the last year or so, and then working really hard and getting better each and every Spring Training start, and then when the lights really come on, playing for real, he does such a great job."
Jimenez -- taken out of the rotation in mid-August -- completed seven innings three times last season, the most recent being an eight-inning outing on June 30 vs. the Rangers. Saturday marked his first scoreless start since May 13, when he went seven frames against Detroit.
"I thought it set up well for him," manager Buck Showalter said. "I thought about it when I went home last night. I thought tonight, if he was where we thought he was, he should give us a chance to win. I think he would have pitched that way regardless of the score. He pitched like it was 1-0."
Jimenez pounded the strike zone early and often to pick up the win at Camden Yards, where he went 3-6 with a 5.49 ERA last year. He needed just 37 pitches through three perfect innings to open the game, and he allowed only Jose Reyes' fourth inning single and a walk.
Jimenez said he saw Saturday as a fresh start, and that will translate into his being more comfortable and confident moving forward.
"You know what, the only thing I worry about is being there for the team," Jimenez said of erasing his struggles last year. "If I pitch good, they will forget it, but my main goal is be there for the team. Can't be worried about what everyone is thinking."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.