Ethier's four RBIs help Greinke snag eighth win
Dodgers righty allows three earned runs for first time in 23 starts
LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke had a Major League-record streak end on Tuesday night, but Andre Ethier made sure the Dodgers right-hander had a margin for error.
Greinke's stretch of consecutive starts allowing two or fewer earned runs ended at 22 on Devin Mesoraco's two-run home run in the eighth inning, but the Dodgers held on to defeat the Reds, 6-3, at Dodger Stadium.
Ethier, who homered and tripled, backed Greinke (8-1) with four RBIs. The Dodgers won for the sixth time in their past eight games and handed the Reds their fourth consecutive loss.
The Dodgers are 30-9 in Greinke's starts since he joined them last season. He went 7 2/3 innings in this one, striking out a season-high-tying 11. Greinke allowed three earned runs on eight hits -- two by Reds rookie Donald Lutz -- and walked none. It was the third time Greinke has had an 11-strikeout, no-walk game against the Reds -- once each for the Royals, Brewers and Dodgers.
"I don't know how that happened," Greinke said of the coincidence. "It is strange."
There was nothing unusual about his sustained excellence, however, except for the extra earned run.
"Kind of typical Zack," manager Don Mattingly said. "What he does every time out, his consistency is pretty amazing, really.
"What he's able to do with a baseball has been fun to watch."
Asked what worked for him, Greinke said: "Changeups to lefties, sliders to righties, and just locating fastballs. The curveball was pretty awful, but I had other pitches to work with to keep them off balance.
"Today, they had a lot of left-handers [five]. [The changeup] is my best pitch against lefties."
Ethier, starting his fifth consecutive game in center field, has 27 hits in 80 at-bats since April 30 at Minnesota, a stretch that has increased his average from .194 to 277.
Asked if playing regularly lately has helped, Ethier said: "I was hitting before, when I was playing sporadically."
On playing center, Ethier said, "I get to see where the pitches are, and I'm yelling and screaming out there."
Behind Greinke, though, it was mostly a breeze until the last batter he faced, Mesoraco, ended his long streak.
"I got a fastball, probably middle-outer third and a little bit down," Mesoraco said. "It was 3-2 and with Jay [Bruce] on deck, I figured they would bring in the lefty and he [Greinke] didn't want to walk me in that situation. I was hoping he would throw me a fastball."
The Dodgers, who lost left fielder Carl Crawford in the eighth inning to a sprained left ankle that Mattingly believes will send him to the DL, got Hanley Ramirez back at short for the first time in five games. Ramirez had an RBI single in the seventh.
"I thought he responded good," Mattingly said.
The Reds broke through for a run in the fifth. Lutz doubled for his first hit of the season, and Roger Bernadina drove him in with a two-out single.
The Dodgers sent 10 men to the plate in the fourth inning and scored four runs. Ethier had the pivotal at-bat.
Despite the fact Ethier had homered in the second inning, the Reds opted to walk Adrian Gonzalez intentionally to load the bases in front of Ethier with one out in the fourth. Ethier then pulled a 2-1 fastball down the right-field line to clear the bases. After a walk, Chone Figgins singled in Ethier to make it 5-0.
Reds starter Alfredo Simon (6-3) had allowed more than three earned runs only once in nine previous starts, against the Rockies on May 10, when he was charged with five in three innings during an 11-2 loss.
The Dodgers matched that. Simon gave up five earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, on five hits and four walks. He struck out two.
Ethier, facing Simon for the first time in the second inning, drove a first-pitch split-fingered fastball over the wall in right-center for his third home run and a 1-0 Dodgers lead.
It was Ethier's first homer in 84 at-bats since he hit a three-run shot off the D-backs' Mike Bolsinger on April 19.
Yasiel Puig drew a first-inning walk, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 28 games. He also singled in the four-run rally, flied out deep to left in the fifth, and was hit by a pitch.