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Finnegan finishes strong after taking liner off leg

Left-hander throws five scoreless innings, tossing just 54 pitches
MLB.com @m_sheldon

MILWAUKEE -- If this was indeed the final start of the season for Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan, he certainly didn't want it to end with a line drive off of his right leg.

Finnegan was drilled on the side of his right knee by a Hernan Perez liner to begin the bottom of the second and it didn't feel good as he limped around the mound as Reds manager Bryan Price and head trainer Steve Baumann looked on with concern.

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MILWAUKEE -- If this was indeed the final start of the season for Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan, he certainly didn't want it to end with a line drive off of his right leg.

Finnegan was drilled on the side of his right knee by a Hernan Perez liner to begin the bottom of the second and it didn't feel good as he limped around the mound as Reds manager Bryan Price and head trainer Steve Baumann looked on with concern.

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But Finnegan collected himself nicely, throwing five scoreless innings during the Reds' 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

"You don't want to come out, especially early in the game. There was no way I was going to let them take me out," Finnegan said, as he wore a bandage wrapped over his knee. "It caught me pretty square. Luckily, I was able to kind of push through it the last four innings. It's going to hurt a lot more tomorrow, I'm pretty sure. It's already swollen. I'm just glad I made it through the start."

Finnegan gave up three hits -- two to Ryan Braun and Perez's single off of his leg -- and struck out four. Perhaps most impressive about his day was that the National League's leader in walks allowed did not give up any free passes to Milwaukee and used just 54 pitches.

Even with the low pitch count, Price decided to bring in Josh Smith from the bullpen for the sixth inning.

"What a competitive effort, taking that liner in the second inning off the inside of the right knee, he was gimping around between innings and never for a second would have suggested he wanted to come out of that game," Price said. "But I knew it was going to be a battle, and I didn't want to get him into any issues after the fifth. He did a lot of great things. He wasn't really in a lot of trouble in that game. Five innings of no-walk baseball, that's pretty impressive and a great way for him if that is his last start, a great way to finish the season."

In 31 starts this season, Finnegan is 10-11 with a 3.98 ERA over 172 innings during his first full big league season as a starting pitcher. He co-leads the NL with 29 homers allowed and has 84 walks with 145 strikeouts.

Finnegan was targeted for 30 starts but was given one more. Price has held off saying for sure if the 23-year-old would be shut down. The Reds have not named their three starters for final series of the season vs. the Cubs.

Over his last seven starts, Finnegan is 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA.

"If it is [my last start], I'm glad I made it through the season healthy," Finnegan said. "I'm glad to be able to put up the innings I was able to. I wish it was more but it's protocol for guys that didn't have that many innings in years past. I'm glad I'm still here and pitching."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Brandon Finnegan