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Despite All the Trade Talk, Finley Sticks Around, Wins


ANAHEIM — There were those who believed Chuck Finley wouldn't finish July as an Angel. Rumors that he was bound for a contender were abound.

July ended Saturday and with it came the trading deadline. Finley was still in Anaheim. About the only thing left open to debate was whether he would finish his 23rd, but not last, start of the season for the Angels.

Once again, he stuck around.

Finley spotted the Minnesota Twins three early runs, then got tough. He allowed only two hits after the second inning and stuck around to reap the benefits of Eduardo Perez's two-run homer in the ninth, which gave the Angels a 4-3 victory.

"Chuck really battled out there," Manager Buck Rodgers said. "When he struggles, he struggles. When he gets going, gets his rhythm, he just mows 'em down."

There was talk Finley would be mowing them down for another team by now. He and his lucrative contract were going to be dealt for prospects. He was going to Boston, or New York or any team that had a shot at winning a division title, or so the talk went most of the season.

Distracting? Not really, but it was always there.

"I never let it become a concern," Finley said. "If it happened, it happened."

It didn't. Club president Richard Brown went out of his way last week to tell Finley he was not going to be traded. Gene and Jackie Autry even let Finley know he was staying put.

"They told me I was going to be with the team for a while," Finley said.

Finley paid them back with his best performance in two weeks. He wobbled at the start, giving up a home run to Bernardo Brito and a two-run homer to Shane Mack in the third.

Finley has a history of such beginnings and it has cost him in the past.

On July 1, he gave up five earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against Oakland. Monday, he allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against the A's and suffered his second consecutive defeat.

"After that game, I was wondering if the Autrys were going to reconsider," Finley said. "I don't know why I have problems early in games. Probably stupidity."

Finley (12-8) got smart after the second inning. He retired 21 of the last 23 batters. He finished with eight strikeouts and issued no walks. It was the fourth game this season in which he didn't walk a batter.

"I decided that if I was going to get beat, it was going to be 3-to-something," Finley said. "I wasn't going to give up another run. When we got to within one run, I knew I had to hold them. Then, maybe I could get a no-decision."

He did better then that, when Perez hit the first pitch off reliever Rick Aguilera with one out in the ninth.

"There's something to be said about hanging around," Finley said.

In more ways than one.

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