Giants 6, Rockies 3

Ubaldo Jimenez was rusty in his return.

Jimenez came off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night and

reported no issues with the thumb on his pitching hand, which

developed a cracked cuticle two weeks ago, forcing to him missing

two starts.

What Colorado’s ace did have trouble with was San Francisco’s

lineup, allowing four runs in the first inning of Colorado’s 6-3

loss to the Giants, the big blow a three-run homer by Pablo

Sandoval on a misplaced slider.

”I put the team in a difficult position right away,” Jimenez

said. ”The first inning, I was trying to let it go, that’s why

everything was high.”

Except the reading on the radar gun.

Although he had more oomph on his fastball, his heaters weren’t

blowing by batters like usual.

”It’s not like I’m going to come back throwing 100 mph right

away,” said Jimenez (0-1), whose fastball topped out at 94 mph,

and he found better control after he dialed it back a little

bit.

Unlike in the opener against Arizona, when Jimenez couldn’t

properly grip the ball, robbing him of zip on his fastball and spin

on his breaking pitches, the right-hander said his thumb is fine

and it’s just a matter of building up arm strength.

”I have to get my arm back,” Jimenez said. ”My speed is going

to get there probably one step at a time, throwing bullpens and

playing long toss every day.”

San Francisco’s offense, which spotted Lincecum a five-run

first-inning cushion in an 8-1 win, gave Jonathan Sanchez (2-1) a

four-run lead to work with before the lefty even stepped foot on

the mound.

Jimenez’s second pitch plunked Aaron Rowand, who came around to

score on Buster Posey’s single before Sandoval deposited an 84 mph

slider into the Rockies’ bullpen in right-center for a three-run

homer, his fifth.

”I was a little rusty. It was as tough inning, but after that,

I was making my pitches,” said Jimenez, who allowed just two more

hits through five innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Sanchez ended up allowing just two hits – to the first and last

batter he faced sandwiched around 6 1-3 stellar innings.

Aubrey Huff also went deep for the Giants, who go for the sweep

Wednesday when Matt Cain faces Jorge De La Rosa.

Dexter Fowler led off the first with a double but the Rockies

went hitless after that until Ty Wigginton singled with one out in

the seventh, putting runners at first and second.

Ramon Ramirez replaced Sanchez and struck out Chris Iannetta

before walking pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera to load the bases for

Fowler, who doubled home two runs to make it 6-3. Ramirez then

whiffed Ryan Spilborghs on three straight pitches to end the

threat.

Javier Lopez pitched a perfect eighth and Brian Wilson got the

final three outs for his fifth save in six chances.

Jimenez found his rhythm after the first inning and that

provides hope that his stuttering start to the season is behind

him.

”I’m getting closer and closer every day,” Jimenez said. ”On

opening day, I was throwing 89, 90. Today, I was throwing 94, 95,

so I felt good.”

Jimenez started out 15-1 last year, threw the first no-hitter in

franchise history and started for the NL in the All-Star Game. This

year, he owns an ugly 7.36 ERA three weeks into the season.

”I wish I could be like I was last year, but that’s part of the

game,” Jimenez said. ”I’m confident, especially because on

Opening Day I didn’t have my velocity. So, every day I think it’s

getting better and better.”

He said the last four innings shows he’s shaking off the

rust.

”Yeah, I was able to locate my fastball and throw my pitches

and at the same time let it go against the last hitter that I

faced,” Jimenez said.

Notes: To make room for Jimenez, the Rockies sent 3B Ian

Stewart, mired in a 2-for-26 start, down to Triple-A Colorado

Springs to get more at-bats. … The Rockies had won their first

five series of the season.