Greinke silences D-backs for NL-high seventh win
Homers from Puig, Van Slyke back righty's eight scoreless innings
PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke, who will offer a brutally honest scouting report on just about anybody, said he isn't the same pitcher he was in 2009 when he won the American League Cy Young Award.
And that's after improving to 7-1 with a 2.03 ERA through nine starts by throwing eight scoreless innings at the D-backs on Friday night in a 7-0 win for the Dodgers, who opened a nine-game trip by raising their road record to 14-7.
The Dodgers have already played the D-backs nine times in the first 43 games and just can't get enough of them. With Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke launching home runs, the Dodgers improved to 8-1 against Arizona this season. They're 4-0 at Chase Field, site of last year's pool party and the Dodgers' unofficial home away from home.
"We've got to figure something out, because obviously it's not fun getting beat by those guys over and over at our place on our home field," said losing pitcher Wade Miley. "We've got to make some adjustments."
Puig had three hits, including a homer and an RBI double. He has eight home runs and a career-high 15-game hitting streak. He also has seven-game streaks for RBIs and extra-base hits.
"He's getting closer to being a player with a chance to have a huge impact," said manager Don Mattingly.
Greinke allowed five hits, all singles, with six strikeouts. He has allowed two or fewer runs in 21 consecutive starts since last June, the longest streak in the Major Leagues since at least 1914. The Dodgers are 29-8 in his starts since he joined them last year. The 2013 National League Silver Slugger also had an RBI double and a single.
"In '09, I just felt nasty to where I could tell them what's coming and they still didn't have a chance," said Greinke, who was 7-1 with a 0.82 ERA after his first nine starts that year. "Now I'm average to above average [stuff] and not where I was, but I mix it up and keep the hitters guessing. It was fastballs and sliders down, a good combination."
He started mixing in curveballs and changeups to left-handers last year, and found himself enjoying it. Teammates enjoy it, too.
"I forget how much fun it is to catch him," said A.J. Ellis, back from the disabled list with a single, two walks and a run scored on a Greinke double. "He's so imaginative, he has so many weapons."
Van Slyke extended his personal ownership of Miley with a homer, double and two runs scored. He is 6-for-9 with six extra-base hits (this year) and 7-for-16 with four homers (career) off Miley, who is 0-3 against the Dodgers in 2014.
"It's getting ridiculous," said Miley. "One thing I can say is he's on to me right now, but I'm not making good pitches to him at all. There's guys that own you where you make good pitches and they hit you. Mark Ellis owns me as far as that goes, I make good pitches to him he still gets hits. I'm just not making good pitches to Van Slyke. The pitches he's hitting, he's supposed to hit them, like fastballs right down the middle."
The Dodgers even played solid defense, turning three double plays behind Greinke, one in which he participated.
Van Slyke doubled with one out in the fourth inning and scored on Ellis' broken-bat single, his first RBI of the year. Ellis then fully tested his surgically repaired knee by scoring from first base on Greinke's double.
Van Slyke inflicted more damage to Miley's ERA leading off the top of the sixth with a booming 454-foot home run to center, his fourth on the season and third off Miley. Greinke added his second hit the same inning.
"Certain guys you just pick up the ball early," Van Slyke said of his success against Miley. "His rhythm and my rhythm are synced up. Some guys you just feel comfortable against."
Puig greeted reliever Randall Delgado in the seventh inning with a single and was doubled home by Hanley Ramirez, who was robbed of hits in his first two at-bats. Ramirez scored on a fielder's choice forceout grounder by Matt Kemp.
After a walk to Ellis leading off the eighth and a throwing error by shortstop Chris Owings into the 10th row behind first base, Puig extended the lead again with an RBI double.
The game marked the return to the lineup of Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe, who missed nearly a week with a slight right hamstring strain.
Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth that included a challenge by manager Don Mattingly when Miguel Montero was awarded an infield single, ruled to have beaten first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the bag, but after a brief review, the call was overturned for the second out. Wilson then struck out Aaron Hill to end the game.