Lima, Gagne Tame Diamondbacks

Jose Lima (7-3) continued his phenomenal comeback from near obscurity with a seven-inning, seven hit effort, added a single himself and has pitched at least six innings in six of his last seven starts, winning three of his last four decisions. Adrian Beltré hit his team-leading 22nd home run and Jose Hernandez connected for his fifth in the 4-1 win as the Dodgers (44-37) earned their fourth in a row at the halfway point of the season.

Lima's seven wins are remarkable for a pitcher who said he was financially squeezed by the Kansas City Royals and came to spring camp as a non-roster player having to fight for a bullpen job, only to battle his way into the starting rotation and emerge as an important part of an injury-decimated staff.

And just a day after seeing his major league record end at 84 consecutive saves, Eric Gagné nailed down the win with a scoreless ninth, his 22nd save of the season and moved into a tie with Jeff Shaw for the all-time franchise record with 129 career saves.

A crowd of 25,139 saluted Gagné with a another standing ovation as the final hitter swung and missed a fastball to end the game.

"That's why I love this job so much, closing so much, because you don't have to worry about today. You have to worry about tomorrow. Every day is 'Groundhog Day.' You have to start over every day. It doesn't matter what you did yesterday."-- Eric Gagné.

The Dodgers had runners on the corners with no outs in the second inning. Cesar Izturis bounced into a 1-2-3 double-play, the first he's hit into this year after 322 at-bats.

Steve Finley gave a 1-0 lead in the third with his 21st homer, but that was all the Diamondback offense could manage against the Dodgers staff. Hernandez's homer in the bottom of the inning (#5) tied the score.

The Dodgers played both big ball and little ball in a three-run sixth, using Beltré's first-pitch leadoff homer to break the 1-1 tie. It was his 22nd of the season, only one short of his career high, set last year. Los Angeles followed with perfect bunts from Alex Cora and Lima to take a 4-1 lead. With one out, Olmedo Saenz singled and Jayson Werth doubled to put runners in scoring position.

Cora dropped down a safety squeeze bunt down the third base line, scoring Saenz from third. Werth moved to third on Cora's single and scored on Lima's suicide bunt, giving the Dodgers a three-run lead that setup man Darren Dreifort and Gagné preserved.

The Dodgers hit the official halfway mark of the season at 44-37 and jumped over the Giants into second place.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Juan Encarnacion said he needs surgery on his left shoulder, but he's trying to play through the pain until the season is over. The outfielder said he has at least one bone chip in the front of the shoulder and labrum damage in the back, suffered after diving for a fly ball in May. The injury is to Encarnacion's non-throwing shoulder, but it is the lead shoulder in the swing. Shawn Green struggled through similar shoulder problems last year and required surgical repair. ... After working a strong bullpen, Edwin Jackson will make Thursday's start in place of Odalis Perez. Jackson left his start on Saturday night in the second inning when he felt a sensation near his right elbow, since diagnosed as a slight strain. Pitching coach Jim Colborn declared Jackson, "Good to go." ... Reliever Paul Shuey's latest injury caused the club to drop his minor league rehabilitation program. The right-hander, who has not pitched this season after tearing a thumb tendon in spring training, injured his right hip last Saturday in a game for Las Vegas. Team physician Frank Jobe was scheduled to examine Shuey, and Tracy said there was "no timetable" on when the right-hander would resume throwing. ... Manager Jim Tracy fielded an outfield of Jose Hernandez in left, Jayson Werth in center and Shawn Green in right, with Saenz playing first base. Tracy wanted to load the batting order with right-handed hitters against the left-hander Arizona starter. Milton Bradley's shoulder is still tender when batting right-handed. Tracy said Dave Roberts would play the next five games as the Dodgers face right-handed pitchers leading to the All-Star break. ... Tracy said setup man Guillermo Mota was unavailable after working 5.2 innings in four of the team's previous five games. Mota's 51 innings are the most among Dodger relievers.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories