Dodgers 5, Reds 2

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CINCINNATI (AP)—The Los Angeles Dodgers have every reason to be delighted with Jose Lima.

The right-hander pitched eight sharp innings and Steve Finley hit his first home run with the Dodgers, leading Los Angeles over the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 Tuesday night.

Lima (11-3), who was invited to spring training as a non-roster player, allowed five hits, struck out four and walked none.

“It’s fair to say he’s exceeded our expectations,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.

Lima did serve up a mammoth home run. Cincinnati’s Adam Dunn, who leads the major leagues with 35 homers, hit a solo shot in the fourth that traveled an estimated 535 feet.

“I gave up a long home run, but I don’t care,” Lima said. “He can hit a 600-foot home run, but I don’t care. The count was 3-2, and there was no way I was going to walk a leadoff hitter.”

It was the longest drive in the brief history of Great American Ball Park.

“It’s no big deal. The park’s only two years old,” Dunn said. “It’s just a home run. There’s a lot more people a lot more excited about it than me.”

Adrian Beltre also homered for the Dodgers, and Eric Gagne got three straight outs for his 34th save in 35 chances.

Reds starter Aaron Harang (7-4) allowed five runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out seven.

“I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff,” Harang said. “The pitch to Beltre was up. The one to Finley wasn’t a bad pitch—on the inner third of the plate and down—so tip your hat to him.”

Dunn’s shot was hit to the deepest part of the park, over the 404-foot sign in center field. It’s another 20 feet to the batter’s eye, which is about 32 feet high and holds a party room and television camera placements.

The ball bounced on Mehring Way behind the stadium and bounded onto a piece of driftwood in the Ohio River. A stadium electrician retrieved the ball for Dunn.

Shortstop Barry Larkin was awed.

“I’ve seen Wily Mo (Pena) hit a ball on top of that thing in batting practice, but I never thought I’d see it in a game,” Larkin said.

Dunn’s shot dwarfed one by Beltre, which would have been impressive on another day. Beltre’s 31st homer, which landed on the grassy slope between the 404-foot sign and the batter’s eye, made it 5-2 in the sixth.

Finley’s two-out, two-run shot in the third, his 24th of the season, gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Brent Mayne, who also came to Los Angeles in a July 31 trade with Arizona, had led off the inning with a single.

The Dodgers scored two more in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Hee Seop Choi and a bunt by Alex Cora.

“Baserunning by Beltre and (Shawn) Green set up two situational runs for us,” Tracy said. “There wasn’t a facet of the game we didn’t excel in.”

Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the first when Larkin, who hadn’t started a game since he strained a muscle in his side on July 31 at Pittsburgh, doubled in a run.

Ryan Freel, who had a bunt single to lead off the inning, scored from first on the play but apparently was hurt sliding home. He left the game in the fourth inning with a sore knee.


Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the lineup again. He has not started since leaving a game in San Francisco last Wednesday with stiffness in his right hamstring. “Junior is still a little stiff,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “He’s getting treatment.” … Reds RHP John Riedling was activated after being on the bereavement list for a week following the death of his father. He filled the roster spot vacated by the trade of Cory Lidle to Philadelphia. … Dodgers right-handers Hideo Nomo and Edwin Jackson threw in the bullpen. They will throw again Friday and then be evaluated for rehab assignments. Nomo has been on the DL since July 1 with rotator cuff inflammation; Jackson since July 9 with a strained right forearm. … Dodgers LHP Kazuhisa Ishii will start Saturday in place of RHP Brad Penny, who has a strained biceps. … Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, in his 31st season with the Reds, signed a three-year contract extension to stay through the 2007 season.

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