LOS ANGELES -- If Zach Davies continues to pitch like he did in Saturday night's 3-0 win over the Dodgers, the Brewers' chances of returning to the postseason will greatly improve.
Davies, who wore "Bat Boy" on his jersey for the Players Weekend start, completely shut down a potent Dodgers lineup, using a four-pitch mix to strike out seven and scatter three hits over seven dominant innings. The Dodgers lead MLB with 91 wins, but they have been beaten twice by Davies this season.
"That's a big-time performance," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That's certainly a game we needed, and to come out against a team of this caliber and to do that and go through their lineup, really impressive. Really impressive."
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Orlando Arcia gave Davies all the support he needed with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, and a run-scoring double by Neil Walker in the eighth gave the bullpen breathing room as the Brewers kept pace with the Cubs and Rockies. Milwaukee trails Chicago by three games in the National League Central and is 3 1/2 games behind Colorado for the second NL Wild Card spot.
"He's been at it all year, so it's always good to have him on the mound," Arcia said of Davies.
Davies improved his career high with his 15th win, but he's not focused on personal milestones.
"It's a fun accomplishment," Davies said. "I think every one of us in this room knows really trying to make it to the playoffs is the end goal. It's nice for myself, but I had a lot of help to get there. This team was incredible in the first half, and we're hopeful to kind of change the standings in the next few weeks."
Davies has been a big reason why the Brewers have remained in postseason contention. Over his last 12 starts, the 24-year-old is 8-3 with a 2.41 ERA.
"There's not a big change that he's made," Counsell said. "I think he's executing his pitches better. It's four pitches working together with each other, and that's what makes him so effective."
Davies said he's grown comfortable mixing in all of his pitches as early as the first inning.
"I think I've gotten to a point where I know that I can mix from the beginning," Davies said. "Getting every pitch in from the start has kind of been a little bit of a help, and it keeps those pitches in the game throughout."
The Dodgers learned that firsthand on Saturday, as Davies displayed two kinds of fastballs, a curveball and a changeup.
"He uses all four pitches and pitches the bottom of the zone," said Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. "Keeps you off balance. Seems like he doesn't throw the same pitch twice. He did a good job tonight."
Counsell has repeatedly said his club will need to go on a run to reach the postseason. With 32 games left on the schedule, Davies figures to make six more starts.
"We're going to have to throw five guys -- they're all equally important -- but Zach is in a good place," Counsell said. "He's pitching with a lot of confidence and he's getting better as the season goes on."