Greinke homers, cruises on hill to edge Reds
LOS ANGELES -- Joc Pederson and Zack Greinke hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning to propel the Dodgers to a 2-1 win in the four-game series finale on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
In addition to his work at the plate, Greinke was just as dominant on the mound. He lowered his Major League-leading ERA to 1.58 and earned his fourth straight win. Greinke lasted seven innings, allowing six hits and just one run while striking out eight.
"He had to battle a little bit," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "His stuff is so good and he's got such a good mix. But he had to work today and get after it."
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani made just the two mistakes on the home runs but was solid throughout. He struck out six and allowed two runs in six innings, but was stuck with the loss.
"I gave it everything I had, and tried mixing it up. It's just the way the game works," DeSclafani said. "Pederson and Greinke put two good swings on the ball. It ended up costing us the game. It's on me. I knew I had to be pretty good today going against Greinke."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Joc and Zack go back-to-back: After the Reds put one on the board in the top of the fifth, Pederson and Greinke took the lead back in swift fashion. First Pederson hit his 23rd homer of the season a projected 434 feet, according to Statcast™, with Greinke following suit on the first pitch of his at-bat.
Discoed out of a jam: DeSclafani opened the Dodgers' fourth inning with a single and a walk, but let no one score by retiring the rest of the side with two strikeouts. In a nice sequence to Yasiel Puig, a 96 mph fastball was fouled off before DeSclafani struck out Puig with an 89 mph slider that ended the inning.
"We were in a situation where I went out there and asked him what we should do," catcher Tucker Barnhart said. "He said, 'Do you think we should throw a slider in the dirt?' I said, 'That sounds great.' He executed it. It's nice to go out there, talk about a sequence, execute it and it worked. It's really good to see, confidence-wise, for him, for me, for the team. It's good for everybody."
Leave me in, coach: Greinke got into a jam in the seventh by allowing a one-out double to Marlon Byrd and walking Barnhart. With Greinke at 102 pitches, Mattingly came out to visit Greinke, but left his starter in the game. Greinke responded with two straight outs to get out of the inning.
"He asked me how I felt and gave me a semi-scouting report of the pinch-hitter," Greinke said. "When I pinch-hitter comes up, I like to know how to get them out."
Reds get one, but no more: In the top of the fifth, the Reds rallied against Greinke when Byrd hit a single, followed by Barnhart's double. Greinke escaped a big inning, however. DeSclafani struck out and Billy Hamilton's sacrifice fly made it a 1-0 game. Brandon Phillips flied to center field for the third out. More >
"You've got to take advantage of opportunities, and if Greinke's throwing the ball well, you know there's going to be limited opportunities," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
"He's been a hell of an asset for us. He goes out there and competes every single day. He's done a heck of a job. It's a good sign for the future of this organization." -- Barnhart, on how well DeSclafani has pitched this season for Cincinnati
"I don't really think about it too much. I just pitch when they tell me and try not to think about that other stuff too much." -- Greinke on the divisional race with the Giants
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
DeSclafani has 14 quality starts this season, which ties him with the now-departed Mike Leake for the team lead this season. Each of DeSclafani's last five starts have been quality outings of at least six innings and three earned runs or fewer.
JANSEN'S BIG DAY
Kenley Jansen not only recorded the final four outs for his 24th save of the season, he also welcomed a baby boy, Kaden Isaiah Jansen, early Sunday morning. The save put Jansen at 130 for his career, moving him up to second all-time in Dodgers' history. More >
Reds: Following a day off on Monday, the Reds will host the first-place Royals for a two-game series that starts at 7:10 p.m. ET Tuesday. Raisel Iglesias, who retired the final 16 batters he faced during a six-inning win over the Padres on Wednesday, will make the start for Cincinnati.
Dodgers: The Dodgers have an off-day on Monday before making the short trip up the coast to face the A's at 7:05 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound looking for his 11th win of the season. Kershaw has a 0.87 ERA in his last eight starts.
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