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Beltre homers twice to help Dodgers pull away

7/31/2002

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Adrian Beltre led the Los Angeles Dodgers out
of their homer slump.

Beltre homered twice and Paul Lo Duca and Shawn Green hit solo
shots Wednesday night as Dodgers pulled away to an 11-5 victory
over the Cincinnati Reds.

The four-homer outburst was out of character for the Dodgers,
who hadn't hit one since July 23. Their 97 homers are third-fewest
in the NL.

Lo Duca and Beltre each had three hits and drove in three runs
in a 15-hit attack that hinted the Dodgers might be emerging from
their three-week slump.

"If we just put it all together and do the little things like
we did today, we're going to be fine,'' Beltre said.

Two big swings them going.

Lo Duca and Green opened the fourth inning with consecutive
homers off Brian Moehler (1-1), who was making his second start for
Cincinnati. The homers touched off a four-run rally that put the
Dodgers ahead to stay.

"I'd like to have one pitch back -- the one to Green,'' said
Moehler, who gave up seven hits and four runs in six innings. "I
left a changeup over the plate. I faced him a lot of times in the
American League. He's a good hitter and a better mistake hitter.''

Beltre's solo homer off Scott Sullivan started a five-run eighth
inning that made it 9-3, and he added a two-run shot in the ninth
off Jose Rijo for the second multihomer game of his career.

"He's got thunder in his bat,'' Green said. "When he's hot,
he's a very tough out. What you're seeing now is, he's starting to
get hot.''

Beltre is 11-for-22 with a double, two triples, two homers and
nine RBI in the last five games, one of the few constants in the
lineup.

"My team needs me right now,'' Beltre said. "We need to have
some offense.''

Hideo Nomo (11-6) struggled at the outset, but got the win by
lasting six innings on a 93-degree evening. The right-hander threw
30 pitches in the first inning alone as the Reds scored twice.

Nomo hadn't beaten the Reds since May 5, 1997, losing his last
four decisions against them. He got Ken Griffey Jr. to ground out
with the bases loaded in the second, then shut down the Reds while
the Dodgers pulled ahead.

"We had Nomo on the ropes a couple of times and didn't knock
him out,'' Reds manager Bob Boone said. "Then we got our little
butts beat. There's no more to it than that.''

The second-place Dodgers won for only the sixth time in 19 games
since the All-Star break, when they led the NL West by 2½ games. A
floundering offense has been the main problem -- two or fewer runs
in 10 of those games.

Lo Duca finally got it on track by leading off the fourth inning
with his seventh homer. Three pitches later, Green hit his first
homer since July 11 and his 28th overall.

Moehler, acquired from Detroit last week, couldn't recover from
the rapid-fire homers. Mark Grudzielanek hit a soft, opposite-field
double that made it 3-2, and Cesar Izturis' sacrifice fly completed
the rally.

Moehler and Ryan Dempster -- the Reds' two starters acquired in
July trades -- have gone 2-4 in six starts for Cincinnati with an
8.40 ERA.

Nomo threw 56 pitches in the first two innings, then settled
down. He gave up two runs on five hits and four walks in six
innings.

Adam Dunn hit a sacrifice fly in the Reds' first and Griffey had
an RBI double. Griffey jogged to first on his hit to right field,
then sprinted around the base as he realized he could stretch it.

Griffey aggravated his right hamstring on the same type of play
on June 23, sending him to the disabled list. In seven starts since
his return, Griffey is 9-for-23 (.391) with a homer and six RBI.

Griffey went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in the ninth.

Paul Shuey, acquired by the Dodgers from Cleveland, struggled in
his second straight appearance for the Dodgers. He gave up a run on
three hits in the eighth, a day after he retired only two of the
six batters he faced in the series opener.

Game notes
Nomo threw 96 pitches overall. He's 5-4 in 10 career starts
against Cincinnati. ... Beltre also hit two homers at Colorado on
Sept. 10, 2000. ... The Reds reached the 64 million mark for
all-time attendance at Cinergy Field, which opened as Riverfront
Stadium in 1970. The Reds picked a fan at random to throw out a
ceremonial first pitch, and gave away 64 replicas of Cinergy. ...
Griffey was the only player in the game wearing long sleeves on the
hot evening. ... Austin Kearns and Brandon Larson extended their
hitting streaks to eight games each.