Tim Lincecum wasn't at his best in his first start, but the result provided the ideal beginning for what he hopes is a bounce-back season.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner looks to start 2-0 for the first time in three seasons while trying to help the San Francisco Giants to an eighth consecutive victory over the visiting Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Lincecum allowed two unearned runs, three hits and overcame matching a career-high with seven walks to last five innings in Wednesday's 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I felt like I could have pitched a lot better," Lincecum said.
The right-hander will take anything positive from the effort after going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA in 2012. That regular season performance left him relegated to the bullpen for most of San Fransisco's playoff run.
He begins the last of a two-year, $40.5 million contract behind Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in the Giants rotation.
"It's not like a huge burden for me. It's just more of an expectation,'' Lincecum said of his past success that included Cy Young-winning seasons in 2008-09. "But for me to stay consistent, I'd have to win Cy Young after Cy Young. It's definitely out of my control to win a Cy Young, but I definitely want to put up those kind of numbers.''
He went 3-1 in six starts versus Colorado in 2012, but had a 4.41 ERA and benefited from 5.19 runs of support per nine innings.
Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Buster Posey drove in a late run to help San Francisco (4-3) snap Colorado's five-game winning streak with a 4-2 win Monday.
The Giants have won 23 of 29 overall against the Rockies (5-2), including seven straight at home in which they've outscored Colorado 46-18.
Pence is batting 7 for 22 with three homers and five RBIs in six games since the season opener.
Posey, the reigning NL MVP, recorded his first RBI on Monday and is 5 for 24 this season. However, he's batting .481 (25 for 52) with 15 RBIs in his last 14 games against the Rockies.
Michael Cuddyer and Josh Rutledge each had two hits for Colorado, which averaged 6.5 runs and 11.8 hits in the first six games but was held to six hits in the series opener.
Cuddyer is 11 for 18 in his last five games after going 0 for 5 in the season opener. He's 4 for 8 with three doubles versus Lincecum.
Teammate Dexter Fowler went 0 for 4 on Monday after recording 10 hits in the previous six games.
Colorado hands the ball to Juan Nicasio, who gave up two runs, a homer and six other hits in six innings of a 7-3 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"He's firing strikes. He's got a great arm,'' manager Walt Weiss said. "When he's in good counts, he's going to be tough to get to."
A day later, Nicasio and teammate and best friend Edgmer Escalona got into a minor skirmish during a public workout at Coors Field that both laughed off.
The right-hander allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings of a 3-1 road loss in his only appearance against San Francisco on June 3, 2011.