Asheville Tourists starter Ubaldo Jiminez was a momentum killer.
Facing an Augusta GreenJackets club that had won four out of six games for only the second time this season and which features one of the hottest hitters in the South Atlantic League, the Colorado Rockies prospect halted a pair of streaks by tossing a gem in a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
Jackets third baseman Chad Spann had his nine-game hitting streak snapped as Jiminez and the Tourists remained ahead of Augusta at the bottom of the Southern Division with their third consecutive victory.
Spann, who entered the game second in the SAL in batting with a .350 average, saw the number dip to .344 after going 0-for-2 with a walk.
"It was just one of those nights," Spann said. "I didn't think (Jiminez) was that (impressive). He didn't throw us anything we haven't seen before. He just busted us inside all night."
Rated the No. 11 prospect in the Rockies farm system, Jiminez dominated Augusta hitters with a 94 mph fastball and a devastating curveball that scouts compare to Rockies ace Shawn Chacon's as the best in the organization.
Jiminez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Augusta's Jose Soto broke it up with a leadoff single. When his night was over, the right-hander had allowed just two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings.
With their mini-surge, the Jackets had a chance to climb out of the Southern Division cellar and pass the seventh-place Tourists with a win.
Instead, they wasted a solid pitching performance by starter Aneudis Mateo and relievers Brandon Smith and Mike Garber with their quiet bats and four errors.
It was the seventh time the Jackets have been shutout this season.
With that, Augusta (19-29) fell to 1 1/2 games behind Asheville (22-29) entering Game 2 of the four-game series today.
Spann's error on an Alvin Colina grounder leading off the fifth helped jump-start a two-run inning for the Tourists. Designated hitter Garrett Gentry's two-run double off Mateo gave Asheville a lead they never relinquished.
Mateo scattered seven hits and was charged with one earned run in 4 1/3 innings. He did not walk a batter, and he struck out seven.
Tourists 2, Jackets 0
TURNING POINT: The Tourists opened the scoring in the fifth on a two-run double by designated hitter Garrett Gentry.
BIG BAT: Asheville's Oscar Materano went 2-for-5 with a double and a triple.
TOP GUN: Asheville starter Ubaldo Jiminez pitched five no-hit innings, and allowed just two hits with seven strikeouts in seven shutout frames.
FOR THE RECORD: WP-Jiminez (3-2). LP-Mateo (0-4). Save-Jentry Beckstead (11).
TODAY'S GAME: Game 2 of 4 - Jackets vs. Tourists, 12:00 p.m., Lake Olmstead Stadium.
PROBABLE STARTERS: ASHEVILLE - RHP Ben Crockett (3-6, 2.84); AUGUSTA - TBA.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.
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