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Lima has his way with Reds
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08/10/2004 9:56 PM ET 
Lima has his way with Reds
Finley, Beltre back right-hander with home runs

Steve Finley hit his first home run as a Dodger in the third inning. (John Soo Hoo/Dodgers)
CINCINNATI -- You know Jose Lima is hot when he beats the Cincinnati Reds.

Lima, who was 1-6 with a 6.47 ERA in 14 games against Cincinnati in his career, allowed just two runs on five hits with no walks in eight innings as the Dodgers opened their six-game road trip with a 5-2 win.

"That's in the past," said Lima (11-3), who hasn't lost in eight starts since June 25, going 5-0 in that span. "That was back in [1999] and 2000. It's a different year, a different stadium, and I'm a different pitcher. I'm sure I'm not the only guy they've beat up."

"He gave us eight more tremendous innings," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "To step up and do the job that he's done for this year is fantastic. The key tonight was the same thing he's done all season. He was competitive, he threw strikes and he hit his spots."

Lima allowed no walks for the second consecutive start while going eight innings for the third time in his last five starts. Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 35 opportunities.

"I'm just happy to show I can still pitch," said Lima, who improved to 9-3 as a starter after opening the season in the bullpen.

The Dodgers, who were swept by the Reds in a three-game series at Dodger Stadium in May, have won six of their last eight games and 13 of their last 17 on the road.

Steve Finley and Adrian Beltre hit solo homers for Los Angeles to help overcome Adam Dunn's 535-foot blast, which cleared the 32-foot black batter's eye in center field and completely left Great American Ball Park. It was the longest homer in the ballpark's two years of operation.

The Reds needed only four pitches to take a 1-0 first-inning lead. Leadoff batter Ryan Freel beat out a bunt up the third base line on the first pitch from Lima. Barry Larkin, who was making his first start since July 24 and first appearance since July 31 due to a strained left oblique muscle, then lined a two-strike pitch to left field for a double that drove in Freel from first base.

Larkin also singled against Lima to improve to 10-for-20 (.500) against him in his career.

The Dodgers wiped out the lead in the third inning when Brent Mayne led off with a single to center field and Finley homered to right field for his first hit in seven career at bats against Aaron Harang (7-4).

The homer was the 24th of the season and the first as a Dodger for Finley, who had missed the previous four starts with hamstring tendinitis.

The Dodgers padded their lead in the fourth. Beltre drew a leadoff walk, and advanced to third on Shawn Green's single to left-center field. For his part, Green alertly took second on the throw to third.

   Shawn Green  /   1B
Born: 11/10/72
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

Hee-Seop Choi followed with a fly ball to center that allowed Beltre to score and Green to move up a base. Alex Cora then dropped down a successful squeeze bunt, and even reached first base after the throw home was too late to nab Green.

"There really wasn't any facet of the game we did not excel in," Tracy said.

Dunn pulled the Reds to within two with his fourth-inning leadoff blast, which bounced off a street outside the ballpark and landed on a piece of driftwood in the Ohio River.

"I'm driving home tonight," said Tracy, a Cincinnati-area native. "If that ball took the bypass, it might be on my way. I might have a chance to catch up to it."

"I gave up the home run, but who cares?," Lima said. "It was a solo homer, and we're still up, 4-2. It could go 600 feet, and it would still be a solo homer. It was a 3-2 count. There's no way I'm going to walk the leadoff hitter."

Beltre restored the three-run lead in the sixth inning with his 31st homer of the season.

Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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