Zack's gem helps LA keep firm grip on lead
PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke continued his dominance of National League hitters as he tossed eight three-hit innings to lead the Dodgers over the D-backs, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field. With the win, the Dodgers captured the series and maintained a 7 1/2-game lead over the second-place Giants in the NL West.
Greinke (17-3) lowered his Major League-best ERA to 1.61 and it was the ninth time this year that he had not allowed a run, while lasting at least seven innings. The D-backs managed to hit just three balls out of the infield against him.
"They're an aggressive team and Zack just teases you with borderline pitches and that's why he gets so many ground balls against left-handed hitters," said catcher A.J. Ellis, who homered for the eventual decisive run. "Zack executes so well on the bottom half of the zone."
D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin (5-4) pitched well in allowing just two runs over six innings, but it was not enough against Greinke.
Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke and Adrian Gonzalez also drove in runs for the Dodgers.
After striking out the first two batters he faced, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen walked Paul Goldschmidt, gave up a single to David Peralta and watched Jarrod Saltalamacchia smack a three-run homer. Jansen struck out Jake Lamb to end the game.
"As usual the guys keep battling," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "They don't give up."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Not many opportunities: With the way Greinke was pitching, the D-backs did not have a lot of chances to score against him, but they did threaten in the sixth. With runners on second and third and two outs, though, Greinke struck out Goldschmidt to end the threat. More >
Wheels keep on Turn-in: The Dodgers' second run was set up by a Turner stolen base in the third inning, his fifth of the season, but fourth in the last 12 games. The Dodgers have stolen 22 bases in their last 23 attempts.
Bringing in the closer: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly defended his decision to yank Greinke with a shutout going and go to closer Jansen, who allowed the home run.
"At this point in the year if I can take an inning off of Zack, I will," he said. "I want to keep him as strong as I can."
"He's obviously one of the better closers in the game. He's done two different things to me so that at-bat I didn't really know what to look for, I was just trying to get a pitch out over the plate that I could get a base hit on or something and try to keep the line moving." -- Saltalamacchia on his homer off of Jansen
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw continues his campaign in the homestand opener against Colorado that starts at 7:10 p.m. PT on Monday, still in play for a fourth Cy Young Award, as well as titles for strikeouts and innings pitched. And he no-hit the Rockies last year.
D-backs: The D-backs open a three-game series with the Padres at Chase Field on Monday night with right-hander Jeremy Hellickson making his first start since being placed on the disabled list on Aug. 20 with a strained left hamstring. Hellickson was 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in the two starts just prior to his injury..
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