Greinke records rare four-strikeout inning
SAN FRANCISCO -- While Yasiel Puig was tripling his way into the record books Friday night, teammate Zack Greinke did something historic, too.
Greinke recorded a four-strikeout inning in the 8-1 win over the Giants, the second of his career and fifth recorded by a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. Greinke also struck out four batters in an inning with the Angels in 2012. He, Chuck Finley and A.J. Burnett are the only pitchers in MLB history with multiple four-strikeout innings.
Against the Giants, Greinke had 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, as he raised his record to 12-6 and moved into a four-way tie for the NL wins lead. Clayton Kershaw (11-2) will try to join the group on Saturday.
In the third inning of the series opener, Greinke struck out Hector Sanchez swinging, Tim Lincecum looking, then Hunter Pence swung and missed at a third strike in the dirt that got past catcher A.J. Ellis for a wild pitch as Pence safely reached first base.
Greinke then struck out Gregor Blanco on another pitch in the dirt, this time Ellis throwing out Blanco at first.
"This time I didn't even notice," said Greinke. "I still wasn't pitching as well as I wanted. The strikeout pitch on Hunter wasn't where I wanted it to go and I was wrapped up in that and making sure it's not a big inning."
The previous Los Angeles pitchers with four strikeouts in one inning -- Pete Richert (1962), Don Drysdale (1965), Darren Dreifort (2003) and Brad Penny (2006).
Greinke said the three-triple, five-run fifth inning that he started with a single was "pretty awesome. Hopefully, it happens a lot."
He said the big inning defused the normally rowdy crowd at AT&T Park.
Greinke said his location wasn't sharp the first few innings and he wasn't getting "enough power behind" his pitches.
He called the outfield deployed Friday night -- Puig in center, Matt Kemp in right and Carl Crawford in left -- the team's best defensively, with a disclaimer.
"If [Puig] stays focused, he has the skills to be the best defensive outfielder," he said. "Matt is a really good right fielder. Carl Crawford is good in left. If Puig stays focused, he's the best center fielder."