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Jimenez strong in outing against Giants

Jimenez strong in outing against Giants

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Ubaldo Jimenez believes he is in a position to put his past two years of struggles behind him. In a 6-4 Cactus League victory over the Giants on Thursday afternoon, the Indians starter spun four solid innings in his continued comeback attempt.

Jimenez wants to show Cleveland that trading for him two seasons ago was not a mistake.

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"The last two years have been really hard," Jimenez said. "They brought me over here because they believed in me. I haven't been able to show it, but I'm looking forward to doing that this year."

Jimenez, who was acquired from the Rockies in July 2011, allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts and no walks in his third outing of the spring. The right-hander felt strong enough after his start against San Francisco to head to the bullpen, where he threw for a few minutes to bring his total to more than 60 pitches logged.

San Francisco's lone run against Jimenez came in the fourth inning, when Brandon Crawford contributed a sun-assisted triple with one out. Crawford sent a pitch towering over center field, where Cleveland's Michael Bourn lost sight of the ball. It dropped to the grass and Crawford sprinted to third for an easy three-base hit. Hunter Pence brought Crawford home with a single.

"After the first four or five pitches, I thought he kind of settled in," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He was working down in the zone. He got some ground balls. He played through the one ball that got in the sun, limited the damage, and gave up the one run. I think he's building on each start and getting stronger."

Despite that one hiccup, Jimenez was happy with his performance.

"I felt good," Jimenez said. "I was able to attack the strike zone and I threw all my pitches for strikes. Everything went good. I was trying to command my fastball and, what I did today different than the other days, I threw more breaking balls then before."

Giants right-hander Chad Gaudin -- a non-roster invitee in the mix for a long-relief role -- turned in three shutout innings in an emergerncy start. San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum was scratched from his scheduled start due to a blister on his right middle finger. Lincecum is considered day to day with the minor issue.

Pitching in place of Lincecum, Gaudin allowed two hits and ended with two strikeouts.

"That's what I train in the offseason for, to come into spring ready to do whatever I need," Gaudin said. "I'm ready for anything. I come ready to pitch no matter what, whether that's in the first, second, fourth or 10th inning."

The Indians' offense got things rolling in the home half of the fourth, when left fielder Ryan Raburn -- competing for a bench job -- delivered a two-run double with the bases loaded against Giants lefty Josh Osich. Raburn ended the afternoon with a pair of two-base hits, upping his Cactus League batting average to .550 this spring.

In the fifth inning, facing San Francisco pitching prospect Heath Hembree, Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi launched back-to-back home runs to push the Indians to a 6-2 lead. Following Swisher's three-run shot to right field, Giambi sent a baseball bouncing off the tin rooftop above the right-field bleacher seats for his first homer of the spring.

San Francisco countered with three runs in the sixth inning against Tribe right-hander Cody Allen, who is in the mix for a bullpen job. Crawford singled and scored on a base hit from Pence, and Brandon Belt brought two runs across the plate with a double down the left-field line. Allen exited after just two-thirds of an inning for the Indians.

Up next: In his bid for a spot at the back end of the Indians' rotation, right-hander Corey Kluber is scheduled to start and throw four innings against the Royals in a 3:05 p.m. ET Cactus League tilt Friday in Surprise, Ariz. Setup man Joe Smith, who had a minor left abdominal strain early in camp, is also penciled in for his second game appearance of the spring. Bullpen hopeful Bryan Shaw will also pitch. A live webcast of the game will be available on Indians.com.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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