Over three months later, it was Lima time again.
Lima, a 21-game winner last year, snapped a personal 13-game losing streak despite allowing three homers, and Lance Berkman drove in four runs with two homers as the Houston Astros defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-6 Sunday.
"I'm still here baby, it's still Lima time," Lima shouted above his favorite merengue music blaring in the clubhouse.
Lima (2-13) hadn't won since his first start of the season on April 5 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a slow start Lima settled in, tying his season high with eight strikeouts. He walked three and allowed seven hits over seven innings.
"Now, at least the streak is over, no more records," Lima said. "Now I just want to enjoy the break with my family and come back strong. I'm happy I got the second win. Something good is going to happen from this."
Octavio Dotel got five outs for his first career save.
Lima, 21-10 last season, designated days he pitched as "Lima time."
He's getting closer to last year.
"He was a lot better, but he's still not as good as last year," Astros manager Larry Dierker said. "His control was off and he looked like a guy looking for something bad to happen.
"Nothing bad happened so maybe this will give him confidence going into the second half."
Lima added to his stats early when he allowed three homers over the first five innings.
Joe Randa hit a solo homer leading off the second inning and Mike Sweeney, who went 4-for-4, added a two-run homer in the third that gave the Royals a 3-2 lead. Sweeney has four hits eight times this season.
"I thought we had a chance to beat him early," Royals manager Tony Muser said. "But I don't know what happened to us. I imagine the people who have beaten him pitched better than we did. But he pitched good enough to win."
Bill Spiers tripled and scored on Jeff Bagwell's sacrifice fly in the first off Jay Witasick (2-8), who lasted just three innings. Moises Alou hit a solo homer leading off the second, and Berkman's three-run homer in the third put the Astros ahead 5-3.
Spiers went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple. Spiers' sixth-inning double drove in Lima, who got his third hit of the season, and reliever Doug Bochtler walked Alou with the bases loaded to make it 9-4.
In the eighth, Randa's RBI grounder scored Sweeney, and pinch-hitter Dave McCarty added a sacrifice fly off Dotel.
"He (Lima) had good stuff," Sweeney said. "He showed why he's one of the best pitchers in the league. He showed us he's still a quality pitcher. He didn't make many mistakes."
Berkman's solo homer off Jeff Suppan in the fifth marked his second career multihomer game and tied his career best with four RBIs. Berkman had consecutive four-RBI games May 30-31 last season at Colorado, and his other multihomer game was at San Diego last July 31.
"When I hit them to the opposite field that's a good sign for me," Berkman said. "In this case, one was a fastball and one was a curveball. I missed two curveballs and it was like I had no idea what I was doing.
"But I knew I got them good."
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