Ubaldo Jimenez is getting good results by quickening his delivery.
Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi hit consecutive homers off Heath Hembree, and Jimenez had a solid start on Thursday, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 6-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Hembree allowed Swisher’s third home run of the spring, a three-run shot in the fifth. Giambi hit his first. Ryan Raburn, who leads the Indians with four homers, hit a pair of doubles, one of them with the bases loaded.
Jimenez allowed three hits and one run in four innings, benefiting from his quicker delivery. Center fielder Michael Bourn lost Brandon Crawford’s fly ball in the sun, letting it fall for a triple. Hunter Pence followed with an RBI single.
“This is going to be a big season for me. The last two have been hard,” Jimenez said. “I’m not worried about being a free agent. I want to show this team what I can do and I haven’t done that yet.”
The Indians’ new pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, has been working with Jimenez on the pace of his delivery.
“It is helping,” Jimenez said. “I was pausing, then I had to start up again. I have been able to attack the strike zone with my fastball.”
Giants starter Tim Lincecum had to be scratched again because of a blister that he developed after his first appearance of spring training. He also missed a start last Saturday because of the blister on the middle finger of his right hand.
Chad Gaudin, who is trying to earn a job in the bullpen, pitched three scoreless innings in Lincecum’s place.
“He’s got the experience,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He has the pitches to work with. He had short notice but he’s been there before. It worked out well. Our preference would be a guy who can go multiple innings. We haven’t had that and gotten away with it.”
Hembree, a Pacific Coast League All-Star last season, had trouble controlling his pitches in the fifth inning.
“He got some pitches up but they were two pretty good hitters,” Bochy said.
Raburn, a minor league free agent who is trying to win a spot on the Indians’ bench, had a pair of doubles and drove in two runs.
“He feels good about himself,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s got a nice short stroke. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but it’s the kind of swing that plays well off the bench.”