DENVER (AP) - 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.
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