Zack Greinke fell short of completing a masterpiece but nonetheless finished a sensational August with another brilliant performance to carry the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Chicago Cubs, 6-2, in the opener of a three-game series.
Greinke (13-3) was one out away from his second shutout of the season before Brian Bogusevic spoiled it with a two-run double. Greinke only allowed five hits and two walks while striking out nine and moving to 5-0 this month with a stingy 1.23 ERA.
"It was a fun night. My location was really good and the defense was good," Greinke said. "I don't know how much better I could have done. It was frustrating not to get that final out. I just couldn't finish it."
Carl Crawford drove in two runs, Nick Punto doubled in a run and scored twice and Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each added a solo home run for the Dodgers, who have won eight straight over Chicago dating back to last year.
Jake Arrieta (1-1) surrendered four runs on six hits and five walks over five- plus innings to suffer his first loss since joining the Cubs, who have lost six of their last seven games.
Starlin Castro led off the game with a single and was quickly erased trying to steal second. Greinke set down the next 13 hitters before Donnie Murphy ended the string with a two-out single in the fifth.
Arrieta matched his counterpart in the early going before being done in by walks. He issued two free passes in the fourth and was one pitch away from getting out of the inning before hanging an 0-2 breaking ball that Greinke punched into left field to knock in A.J. Ellis for the game's first run.
Crawford followed with a ground-rule double to plate Punto, and the Dodgers pushed across two more in the sixth for a 4-0 cushion.
Mark Ellis walked leading off the frame and scored when Punto doubled off the bottom of the right-field wall. Crawford added a sacrifice fly later on, and Ramirez launched a mammoth shot down the left-field line in the seventh that hit the facade between the first and second deck.
Puig capped his three-hit night in the eighth with a no-doubter into the left- field bleachers off Michael Bowden.
Brian Wilson relieved Greinke after Bogusevic's run-scoring hit and struck out Murphy to end the game.
"Zack is on a pretty good stretch. He's got all the pitches to do it, and he did it tonight," Cubs manager Dale Sveum.
Greinke, who has won 10 of his last 11 decisions, leads all NL pitchers with a .340 batting average ... The Dodgers tied their longest winning streak against the Cubs in Los Angeles history, set from June 9, 1974-May 19, 1975 ... The Dodgers were coming off a series loss to the Red Sox over the weekend after winning or tying a club-record 18 straight sets.