Sometimes 'Lima Time' takes some time

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

Lima Time began, officially, at 2:04 p.m. yesterday.

That's when the highly-touted former major leaguer threw his first pitch for the Edmonton Capitals -- a strike to Tucson's Skip Adams.

And at about 2:09, with the Caps and their stunned fans trailing 2-0 on a walk and a home run, a few in the stands at Telus Field were wondering if it was too late to get back those five cases of baseballs the team shipped to Long Beach in the trade that brought Lima here.

"If I'm not pitching every five days it's not like I get wild, but I feel I have no strength in the first couple of innings," said Lima, who showed all kinds of rust in throwing on 13 days' rest.

"My body takes time to start functioning really well."

The result was a rather inauspicious start to his Capitals career.

After walking only nine batters in his previous 83 innings this season, Lima gave a free pass to the second batter he faced and then watched Dustin Yount drill a two-run homer over the right field wall.

A walk, double and a triple in the fifth inning brought three more Toro runs around.

Gulp.

But all's well that ends well and the Capitals bats made sure the matinee ended with a W by scoring eight runs of their own in an 8-6 Golden League shootout.

"An ugly one, but we'll take it," said Lima, 36.

"I made a couple of mistakes. That's the first time in 12 starts this year that I gave up that many runs. But we have a good team here that scored runs for me. In the meantime, I got an ugly one out of the way."

Lima lasted seven innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Hardly a dominating performance, but a win nonetheless.

"It's kind of tough when he hasn't pitched in 13 days," said manager Brent Bowers.

"And I think he's faced Tucson about four times already, so they have a good idea of what he's got. But it was good for him to get on the mound, get seven innings in."

Lima threw just 74 pitches -- 20 balls and 54 strikes.

"He's always around the plate, so he's going to get hit a little bit," said Bowers. "But he did a good job."

Whenever Lima got into trouble, the Caps used their bats to dig him out of it.

They counted three runs in the bottom of the first inning and one more off a Darryl Brinkley homer in the third to take a 4-2 lead.

After Tucson's three-run fifth made it 5-4 Toros, Edmonton scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-5 lead.

And once again, the Toros battled back, hitting a pair of doubles off Lima in the seventh to tie it 6-6. Edmonton answered with two in the eighth to make it 8-6.

"Right now, our offence is clicking," said Bowers. "Everybody is confident and swinging the bats well, stealing bases."

Brinkley went 4-for-4 and Mark Okano 3-for-4.

"Darryl's been swinging the bat well," said Bowers.

"He's probably the only guy in our lineup that I've kept in the same place all year long.

"He's leading the league in RBI, stealing bases, doing a great job."

The Caps closed out the victory in style, with Aaron Hornostaj and Mitch Graham turning a spectacular double play in the ninth.

"That was the ESPN play of the night," beamed Lima. "Bare-handed double play ... that's pretty good."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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