Cueto, in part because of the problems with his fingers, lost his previous three starts for the San Francisco Giants. However, the right-hander threw 106 pitches -- probably far too many for six innings, but he had an explanation -- in San Francisco's 7-1 victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
Cueto (5-4) gave up one run on six hits and a walk while striking out eight.
"I felt better," Cueto said through a translator. "I threw a lot of pitches because I wanted to keep the ball low. It was much better out there. Toward the end I felt it a little bit, but I was fine."
The other guy on the mound at AT&T Park was not fine. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had flustered the Giants over the years, establishing a 2.88 career ERA against them, his fourth-best mark against any club he had faced more than three times.
But the Giants, on a combination of their own hitting, including singles in the first and second by Eduardo Nunez, and Dickey's own wildness -- five walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball -- produced two runs in the first inning, four in the second and one in the third.
The wind bothered Dickey (3-4). After all, this is San Francisco, where a pitcher was once blown off the mound, if at extinct Candlestick Park.
"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind," said Dickey, who was charged with seven runs (six earned) and six hits in six innings. "It swirls so much. It's about finding the right speed out of my hand. But the last three innings, I just backed off a little bit and started to get consistent movement in the strike zone rather than erratic movement outside the zone.
"I didn't give us a chance. I have to make that adjustment much sooner than I did in the third inning. I didn't give our offense much of an opportunity to do what they needed to do. They were in the hole right after the gate. It's one I have to learn from but forget about quickly."
The Giants have learned a great deal this season, mostly about losing. They won the last two contests of the three-game series from Atlanta, but they dropped four in a row before that -- three to the Cubs, one to the Braves -- and in those four losses scored a total of only six runs.
"We're on a mini-streak," Giants manager Bruce Bochy quipped. "But really, we started getting better and getting some offense. Funny, people worry about the knuckleball, but after the third inning, and the last three innings were against conventional pitching, we didn't get a runner on."
Of course, San Francisco got enough on and over through the third.
"This game is all about adjustments," Bochy said. "It doesn't matter who's pitching, a knuckleballer or other pitcher. (Brandon) Crawford got his first hit off Dickey (a run-scoring single in the second).
"Gorkys (Hernandez) had a really good day, a couple of hits and a great diving catch."
After a six-run outburst Saturday night, the Giants broke loose again Sunday.
Bochy, a former catcher, said the knuckler is a tough pitch but is hittable.
"People make too much about the pitch," Bochy said. "It's just a matter of adjusting, like to any other pitcher. The ball comes in and you swing."
Which, beginning with Nunez -- the second batter in the order -- is exactly what San Francisco did. With one out, Nunez singled to center, Brandon Belt walked and Buster Posey walked. A run scored on a wild pitch, and Crawford grounded out to get Belt home.
Joe Panik began the second with a shot to the 421-foot sign in center, an area the Giants call "Triples Alley." Panik did get his triple, and he scored on Gorkys Hernandez's single. Later in the inning, Nunez hit an RBI single and Crawford had a two-run single.
Cueto's sacrifice fly in the third inning made it 7-0.
Said Dickey: "We were out of the game against a guy (Cueto) who's a traditional All-Star."
Atlanta got its lone run on Kurt Suzuki's groundout in the sixth inning.
NOTES: Braves CF Ender Inciartre doubled in the fifth inning, his 36th hit of the month. He is second in the National League in hits during May behind Colorado's Charlie Blackmon, who has 39. ... The Braves go down the coast but change leagues on Memorial Day, facing the Angels at Anaheim. Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 4.88) will oppose Angels RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-4, 4.37 ERA). ... San Francisco C Buster Posey has not struck out in his past 55 plate appearances, the longest streak in the majors. He went 0-for-2 with two walks. ... The Giants play host to Washington on Monday, with San Francisco LHP Matt Moore (2-5, 5.28 ERA) facing Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (4-2, 4.32).