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Greinke finds it hard to fool ex-teammates

'They are an older, smarter team,' D-backs righty says after loss to Dodgers
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

LOS ANGELES -- On the bright side for D-backs right-hander Zack Greinke, he pitched better Friday night at Dodger Stadium than he did a year ago when he yielded eight runs, including five homers.

However, Greinke once again was roughed up by his former teammates as he allowed five runs on 10 hits in Arizona's 7-1 loss.

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LOS ANGELES -- On the bright side for D-backs right-hander Zack Greinke, he pitched better Friday night at Dodger Stadium than he did a year ago when he yielded eight runs, including five homers.

However, Greinke once again was roughed up by his former teammates as he allowed five runs on 10 hits in Arizona's 7-1 loss.

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It was clear from the outset that Greinke was going to have his work cut out for him. Even in the first two innings when he held the Dodgers scoreless, they made him throw 44 pitches while hitting a pair of balls to the wall.

"It wasn't like the best I've ever pitched, but it's just their at-bats are super quality and they hit the ball hard a lot," Greinke said. "It was just a good game by them."

Greinke pitched for the Dodgers from 2013-15 before signing a six-year, $206.5 million free-agent deal with the D-backs. Is it possible that the familiarity his former team has with him is what causes him issues against them?

"I don't know," Greinke said. "I'd say they are an older, smarter team and they've seen a lot of good junk pitches and so I don't trick them as much as some other teams, but even their young guys take good at-bats against me."

Greinke did not seem to have a problem getting to two strikes, but putting hitters away was an issue.

Of the 10 hits he allowed, five of them came with two strikes.

"It obviously wasn't Zack's best day," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think he was just mislocating some pitches. His fastball command was maybe not as good as it had been in his last start. And they laid off some secondary stuff. I think they had a good game plan. Zack threw some quality pitches that were taken and forced him to elevate the ball and bring it in the zone and they took advantage of some mistakes today."

Grienke had little margin for error, given he was facing off against Dodgers ace, Clayton Kershaw.

The two pitchers are good friends and Greinke had said he was looking forward to stepping in the box to see firsthand how nasty Kershaw was. Greinke's lone at-bat came in the third inning when Kershaw struck him out looking on five pitches.

"I wish I saw more," Greinke said. "But definitely wasn't very close to hitting him. That's a good sign for him."

For his part, Kershaw did not revel in having to face someone he considers a friend.

"We did a good job, really battled, made him throw a lot of pitches and broke it open with hits in scoring position," Kershaw said. "Hats off to our guys. Today we did a really good job."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke