"I know that he welcomes that pressure," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I said a few starts ago [during] a losing streak that he had the weight of 24 guys on his shoulders. I know that he's equipped to go out there and separate things. He knows the importance of each one of his starts. He goes out there to execute a game plan and that's all he's thinking about, and he goes out there and does a masterful job of it."
It looked like it was going to be anything but a masterpiece in the first inning, when the Cardinals opened with three straight hits and jumped out to a 1-0 lead in front of 48,052, the largest crowd ever to see a game at Busch Stadium III.
"I was making a bunch of mistakes to those first three batters," Greinke said. "I just didn't feel loose, really. I just was having trouble making pitches. And then I got guys in scoring position and all of a sudden the pitches started going where I wanted a little better, so that was nice. Those first three batters, though, it just wasn't coming out good."
Greinke got Jedd Gyorko to fly out before fanning Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong to end the inning with runners stranded at second and third.
It was a missed opportunity for the Cardinals, who saw Greinke set down the next 12 batters while the D-backs built a 3-1 lead.
"We had a little more out there in the first, for sure," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "This is the kind of pitcher that once he finds his groove, he's going to be tough. And that proved, unfortunately, to be true tonight again."
Greinke ran into trouble in the fifth when he allowed a leadoff double to Randal Grichuk and walked Harrison Bader.
After striking out pinch-hitter Luke Voit, Greinke got Matt Carpenter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
"Anytime you make a mistake to him, he hammers it," Greinke said of Carpenter. "That's just how he is. You can't really get away with many mistakes. You try to make a good [pitch]. I think I had a good first pitch, got ahead, and made two more good pitches after that. He took one and hit one toward one of our guys. I got lucky it was at someone instead of in a hole somewhere."
And as for winning following a loss, Greinke credited his teammates for that.
"It's nice," he said. "But I think most of those times we get like seven or 10 runs. It's just good timing for everything, also."