Ubaldo gives O's a lift with 8-inning gem

Righty allows 2 runs on 9 hits while striking out 6 with just 1 walk

Ubaldo gives O's a lift with 8-inning gem

BALTIMORE -- Through the last turn of the rotation, the Orioles' starters are looking up. Count righty Ubaldo Jimenez's performance Saturday night at the top.

Jimenez went a season-high eight innings -- matching the longest outing for an O's pitcher this year -- and held Oakland to two runs in a 5-2 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader.

"He was solid, obviously. You all watched it," manager Buck Showalter said. "How many walks did he have, one? He dialed up something we needed ... you couldn't ask for better. He emptied the tank in the eighth. That was his last hitter and he made a great pitch.

Ubaldo fans Coghlan

"Ubaldo did a nice job of holding runners tonight. Two challenges he's had when he has had some this year has been the walks and some stolen bases."

Jimenez struck out six and looked in total control of the strike zone, marking the first time since his season debut on April 7 that he's issued fewer than three free passes.

"I always try to stay away from the walks," Jimenez said. "The walks hurt. Every time I walk a guy, it seems like they find a way to score."

The righty had his command on Saturday night, scattering nine hits in an impressive 104-pitch outing that lowered his ERA to 4.54.

Both of Oakland's runs, and four of their hits, came in the fifth inning. After allowing Yonder Alonso's leadoff double, Josh Phegley drove in a run with a single. One out later, Jimenez surrendered an infield single to Billy Burns, and then with two outs, he gave up an RBI infield single to Josh Reddick, who had four hits. But the righty was able to get Khris Davis to pop up to strand runners on first and third and prevent a bigger inning, picking up his second win in the process.

"It's just a reminder of what they're capable of. Ubaldo arguably was our best pitcher last year. You could make a case for that," Showalter said. "[Wei-Yin] Chen was pretty good, obviously. [Jimenez has] gotten better as he's gotten further into being with the Orioles. He's been a guy who posts up every fifth day, and he's always ready and you never have to worry about him on or off the field. He does his work. He's ready and he likes to compete."

Jimenez gave the Orioles their second start in three days of eight innings -- joining Kevin Gausman -- as the O's starting pitching has given the club a lift on this homestand.

"That's everything for a starting pitcher. That's the kind [of outing] that you put in your mind, try to do -- go as deep as you can," Jimenez said. "It's going to be good for the team. It's going to be good for the bullpen. They just want to be used the way they're supposed to be used."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.