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Colorado beats Reds 10-5 to cut division lead to six

DENVER — Ubaldo Jimenez stuck around long enough to turn a clunker into a classic.

Another bloop single or broken-bat flare from getting pulled in the third inning, Jimenez buckled down to win his club-record 18th game despite a wild outing as the surging Colorado Rockies rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-5 Monday.

“He was one gapper away,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy conceded.

And Jimenez knew it.

“I saw (Samuel Deduno) up in the bullpen and I was like, ’Uh-oh, I’d better find a way to get back on stride,”’ Jimenez said.

He did — just barely.

Jimenez struck out Drew Stubbs to leave the bases loaded in the third inning, something he’d do twice more before giving way to his bullpen to get the final nine outs.

“He wasn’t locating the ball well, but there’s been many games where he’s pitched very well and hasn’t gotten the win,” teammate Todd Helton said. “So, he deserves a few of these. He’s had a great season. He has great stuff and he’s put in a lot of hard work to win 18 games. And he probably could have won a lot more.”

Even though he leads the National League in victories, Jimenez (18-6) hadn’t won since Aug. 4. He snapped his four-game losing streak even though he didn’t have his usual command of his fastball and struggled through a 123-pitch effort.

He allowed seven hits and matched a season high with six walks, one of them intentional, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter in six innings.

The Reds’ lead in the NL Central was cut to six games over St. Louis, which beat Milwaukee 8-6.

Troy Tulowitzki homered, tripled and drove in three runs for the Rockies, and NL batting leader Carlos Gonzalez went 3 for 5 with two RBIs, raising his average to .340.

Reds rookie sensation Aroldis Chapman hit 102 mph on the stadium radar gun and struck out Tulowitzki. But the Rockies nicked Chapman for three hits during a three-run sixth that made it 8-4.

“He’s good,” Tulowitzki said. “The arm is unbelievable. I don’t think he’s all the way polished yet.”

For a while this summer, it seemed as though Jimenez would obliterate the franchise mark of 17 wins set by Kevin Ritz in 1996 and tied by Pedro Astacio in ’99 and Jeff Francis in ’07. But Jimenez had been stuck on 17 wins for more than a month, victimized by poor run support and spotty defense.

In his previous five starts, he was 0-4 despite a 3.00 ERA and he received zero or one run of support in four of those five games.

“Now we can breath,” Jimenez said. “There was a lot of people that were (eager) for that win, including fans, family members, teammates.”

After giving up four runs in the third inning, Jimenez stranded 11 Reds through the sixth. The Rockies finally gave him some run support in winning their fourth straight game against division leaders — they just took three from San Diego last weekend, their first sweep on the road this season.

“He pitched horrible,” Gonzalez said, laughingly emphasizing the adjective that hasn’t been used to describe Jimenez too often.

“I hope he feels better,” the slugger added. “He needs to take all the pressure off and keep pitching the way he was pitching at the beginning” of the year.

Tulowitzki broke a 4-all tie in the fifth when he sent a cut fastball from Bill Bray (0-2) halfway up the left-field bleachers.

In the third, Tulowitzki followed Gonzalez’s bases-loaded, broken-bat, two-run double with a two-run, standup triple as the Rockies quickly erased Cincinnati’s four-run cushion.

The Reds had batted around in the top of the inning, scoring four times on five hits and two walks. Stubbs scored from third on Brandon Phillips’ groundout, Chris Heisey followed with an RBI single and Jonny Gomes added a two-run single to make it 4-0.

The Reds also left the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth and stranded runners at the corners in the fifth.

“Anytime you score four off Ubaldo like that, you figure you have a pretty good chance to win,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Ubaldo is the kind of guy that can pitch himself out of trouble, strike himself out of trouble. With the stuff he has, he’s capable of doing that. He didn’t have his real good command today but he could reach back and hit 97, 98 mph and get himself out of trouble.”

And into the Rockies’ record book.

Notes: Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games with a first-inning double. He broke two more bats, giving him eight in one week. … The Reds remained two wins shy of snapping their streak of nine straight losing seasons.