MILWAUKEE (AP) - Ubaldo Jimenez tossed a two-hitter, a sure sign he's almost shaken his early season struggles. Too bad he has a hard-luck loss to show for it.
The Rockies ace looked more like the 19-game winner of last season, but Ryan Braun hit a two-run triple and scored on a throwing error to lift the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-1 win over Colorado on Sunday.
It marked the first time in the Rockies' 19-year history that they lost a game when giving up two or fewer hits.
``For a guy to go out there and pitch like he did today and give up two hits and take a loss, that's tough to take,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Jimenez (0-4) threw the seventh complete game of his career, but struggled to find the strike zone at times with five walks and a hit batter. Still, he was much sharper again after another strong outing on Tuesday, but he received little support from the rest of the Rockies' sputtering offense.
``I've been a work in progress. I made a major step today but I still have things to work on. Especially with two outs,' Jimenez said. ``I felt good. I felt like I gave the team a chance to be close. That's the thing you want to do as a pitcher.'
Braun scored in the third after center fielder Dexter Fowler tried to make a diving catch, then compounded the problem by committing a throwing error.
The Rockies typically solid defense has looked shaky since coming to Milwaukee, which completed the sweep. Colorado had at least one error in all three games, the first time that's happened all year.
After Braun's hit, Milwaukee didn't have another off Jimenez until Mark Kotsay doubled with one out in eighth.
``He was really, really good today with the exception of that one glitch,' Tracy said. ``When he was in the strike zone, he making pitches all day with the exception of the ball that Braun hit and the ball that Kotsay hit in the bottom of the eighth inning, there wasn't too much that was centered up.'
Colorado took a 1-0 lead to start the third when Fowler tripled with two outs off Randy Wolf (4-4) and scored on Carlos Gonzalez's single to right.
But that would be the only offense for the Rockies, who finished this road trip 1-4 and have scored 16 runs in the span. Todd Helton returned from back spasms, but struck out twice and didn't get a hit in four at_bats.
``We hit some balls hard. When we do square balls up, we're not catching much of a break. That's for doggone sure. We just have to move on,' Tracy said.
In the bottom of the third, Carlos Gomez walked and after Wolf sacrificed him over, Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch.
With two outs and Braun up, a double steal put runners in scoring position before Braun hit a sharp liner to center field. Fowler's dive wasn't close as the ball crossed through the shadows, and the center fielder's throw back to the infield was errant, allowing Braun to sprint home to make it 3-1.
``I got a pretty good jump on the ball. The ball was running away from me,' Fowler said. ``If it happens again, I'd do the same thing at that point in the game.'
Wolf got in a big jam in the fourth with the bases loaded and one out before Jimenez hit into a 4-6-3 double play. In the fifth, Gonzalez hit into another double play to end a threat.
``We got the bases loaded and I had to hit,' Jimenez said. ``I tried my best but it's hard.'
Colorado wouldn't get another baserunner until two outs in the ninth when pinch-hitter Seth Smith walked.
The Rockies fell to 1-7 this year in games featuring Jimenez, who fell to 5-2 when pitching a complete game.
``We have pitched great,' Tracy said. ``There's been a glitch here and there, but I don't know if you can ask for much more.'
NOTES: The Rockies recalled RHP Greg Reynolds to take Felipe Paulino's spot after Paulino was designated for assignment Saturday night. Reynolds will pitch out of the bullpen until a spot start Saturday. ... After a day off Monday, the Rockies will pitch LHP Jorge De La Rosa and RHP Jhoulys Chacin in a doubleheader with Arizona on Tuesday followed by Jason Hammel, Clayton Mortensen, Jimenez and Reynolds. ... Colorado is 2-8 in its last 10 road games.
Colin Fly can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/cfly
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