Francis gives up three-run homer to Uribe |

Francis gives up three-run homer to Uribe

Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Never mind the hard hit three-run homer he gave up to Juan Uribe. Jeff Francis felt good.

And that’s a big deal.

After missing 18 months because of shoulder problems that required surgery, Francis was back on the mound again. He gave up four runs, four hits and two walks in two innings of the Colorado Rockies’ 7-4, split-squad loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday.

“It felt good to get out there and get the blood pumping against a familiar lineup. Physically, I felt good,” said Francis, who last pitched on Sept. 12, 2008, and finished with a dismal 4-10 record after going 17-9 in 2007.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Francis tried to throw with an easy motion, mainly fastballs.

“I did throw a few changeups, but mostly I would throw five or six (fastballs) in a row, even behind in the count. That’s pretty unusual,” Francis said.

Francis walked the first batter he faced, Aaron Rowand, but got the next three men with little difficulty in the first inning.

In the second, he gave up a leadoff single to Giants catcher Bengie Molina, walked John Bowker and then watched Uribe’s shot sail far over the left-field bullpen and into a row of trees. Matt Downs doubled and Rowand brought him home with a single.

Francis said he was uncertain when he might throw again, but if he is trying to stick to pitching every fifth day, his next start would come on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals in Tucson.

Giants right-hander Matt Cain, meanwhile, was feeling much better about his first start. He pitched three innings, giving up a run on five hits and striking out two.

He was pleased by the fact that he didn’t walk a batter, a good sign this early.

“Keeping the walks down always is a plus,” said Cain, who was 14-8, with a 2.89 ERA in 33 starts last season.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy liked Cain’s efficiency and the fact that he kept the ball down.

The Giants won their third straight game with a big offensive day from Molina, who had three hits, including a two-run homer in a three-run fifth inning. Molina now has four hits on the spring.

NOTES: Both Rockies squads were fortunate they arrived in Scottsdale and for their other game in nearby Tempe. A bus rolled over on Interstate 10, backing up traffic for hours outside of Phoenix. The team was warned about the backup and took side roads. … Second baseman Jonathan Herrera had two hits and a walk to lead Colorado. … Giants closer Brian Wilson was ineffective in the sixth, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. … The Giants play split-squad games against Arizona in Scottsdale and Milwaukee in Phoenix. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez will start against the Diamondbacks and right-hander Kevin Pucetas against the Brewers.