Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 3
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Jose Lima’s exuberance knows no limits.
Whether it’s dancing in the clubhouse, bounding out of the dugout to greet a teammate who just scored or kissing someone’s bat for luck, the Dodgers pitcher possesses a unique zest.
Lima smooched Steve Finley’s bat in an attempt to create some good karma for a teammate mired in an 0-for-19 slump. It worked for both of them.
Finley homered twice, driving in the go-ahead run for the second consecutive game, and Lima earned his first win in a month as Los Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 Thursday night.
Lima grabbed Finley’s bat in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game.
“Your bat needs some loving,” Lima told a surprised Finley.
“I need a hug. Give me a hug,” he told Lima.
Finley doubled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth against his former team Wednesday to break out of his slump.
He snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning Thursday with a solo homer, then hit a two-run shot in the sixth to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. They held on to extend their NL West lead to five games over idle San Francisco.
“Every win is a big win,” Finley said. “It takes a game off the schedule and makes it difficult for another team to catch us. It’s nice when you can sweep anybody this time of year. They gave us a run for our money.”
After the game, Finley told Lima, “I believe in you.”
Lima tapped his chest and said, “I’m not fake. I do it from the bottom of my heart.”
The Dodgers take a three-game winning streak into Friday’s series opener against NL Central-leading St. Louis, which swept them last weekend.
“It’s a big series for us tomorrow,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said.
The Diamondbacks finished 3-16 against the Dodgers this season, including losses in 12 of their last 13 meetings. Overall, they’ve lost seven in a row.
“It’s been a tough year against anybody, not only the Dodgers, everybody,” Arizona interim manager Al Pedrique said. “I know everybody is feeling bad about it.”
Lima (12-5) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings, struck out four and walked one to win for the first time since a 5-2 victory at Cincinnati on Aug. 10.
“I knew if I kept the ballclub close, we’d come back and score some runs,” Lima said. “I just wanted to keep the ball down and get some strikes.”
Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his 38th save in 40 opportunities, one night after getting the win against the Diamondbacks.
Finley sent a 2-2 pitch from Edgar Gonzalez (0-9) over the right-field wall in the fifth. Gonzalez gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, struck out a career-high six and walked one.
“I wanted to throw down and away or down and inside,” Gonzalez said. “The pitches were there. I threw good pitches, but they hit them.”
Finley padded the Dodgers’ lead with two outs in the sixth, hitting his 31st homer on the first pitch from Michael Gosling, who was making his major league debut. Brent Mayne, who reached on a broken-bat single, also scored.
“Finley is swinging the bat like a madman,” Arizona’s Chris Snyder said. “He is unconscious right now. They are a tough team.”
The Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead in the second on a fielder’s choice grounder by Snyder and Jerry Gil’s RBI single. Alex Cora’s sacrifice fly provided the Dodgers’ first run in the bottom of the inning.
Adrian Beltre produced offensive and defensive highlights for the Dodgers. His RBI single tied the game at 2 in the third, and he helped Los Angeles escape a first-and-third, none-out jam in the eighth after the Diamondbacks had closed within two runs.
Snyder homered in the seventh off Lima to make it 5-3.
It was the Dodgers’ eighth sweep of the season. … Beltre’s single in the third was his 103rd RBI of the season, the most by a Dodgers third baseman since Pedro Guerrero had the same amount in 1983. … Beltre’s two hits marked his 57th multihit game of the season, the most by a Dodger since Shawn Green also had 57 in 2001. … Finley has 30-plus homers for the fourth time in his career and the first time since he had a career-high 35 in 2000.