When Zack Greinke's scoreless innings streak ended 13 1-3 shy of Orel Hershiser's all-time record, he mentioned that maybe someone eventually will break what for so long seemed to be an unreachable mark.
It hasn't even taken two weeks for another member of the Los Angeles Dodgers' rotation to threaten Greinke's streak as baseball's longest in 27 years.
Clayton Kershaw can't reach Hershiser's 1988 record for a few more starts, but he can eclipse Greinke's outstanding run by going the distance Friday night at PNC Park as he opposes Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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Greinke's streak ended at 45 2-3 innings July 26 against the New York Mets, the fourth-longest stretch of scoreless baseball in the expansion era, but the Dodgers (62-46) simultaneously had another run going courtesy of Kershaw (9-6, 2.37 ERA).
The reigning MVP was at 29 straight scoreless innings after throwing a three-hitter July 23 in Queens, and after getting eight days off due to some lingering hip soreness, Kershaw held the Angels to two hits over eight in a 3-1 victory Saturday.
"I felt all right; I don't think I was quite as sharp as usual," Kershaw said. " ... I was fortunate to get to eight today. I think my fastball command got better as the game went on.
"It's crazy what two or three days off will do. I don't like days off."
Now at 37, Kershaw can pass Greinke's mark with his third complete game in five starts. That would mean he'd also eclipse his own record of 41 consecutive scoreless innings set last season.
Should the left-hander at least do that, five of the seven longest spotless streaks since 1960 will belong to Dodgers.
Kershaw has allowed eight hits and one walk while striking out 32 in 25 innings since the All-Star break.
The Pirates (62-44) have avoided him since a month before the 2013 Midsummer Classic, missing him in both series last season while winning five of seven.
They saw Kershaw twice in 2013 and could only manage five hits and one run over 14 innings in a pair of losses. He's held Pittsburgh to a .172 average in eight career outings, the best he's done against any NL opponent.
Andrew McCutchen has had some success off Kershaw, going 6 for 19 with a homer, while Chris Stewart - Cole's personal catcher - is an unlikely 6 for 12 and has also gone deep.
McCutchen homered in Wednesday's 7-5 win over the Chicago Cubs to bump his average to .327 since May 7. His 1.283 OPS with runners in scoring position this season trails only Paul Goldschmidt's and Mike Trout's.
"I'm having a good season, but I don't assess all that until the end of the year," McCutchen told MLB's official website. "I'm stringing together good at-bats, and feel I'm getting stronger as the season continues, and that's always a plus. ... Things are coming together."
They've been doing the same for Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a three-run homer in Thursday's 10-8 win over Philadelphia to help Los Angeles overcome a rough outing from Greinke. Gonzalez is hitting .359 since the break.
Few pitchers have the stature to push Cole (14-5, 2.29) to second billing, but the major league wins leader might not mind being somewhat of an afterthought Friday simply because he doesn't have to face Cincinnati.
The right-hander has made it through six innings in all 17 of his starts that haven't been against the Reds. Pittsburgh is 15-2 in those outings behind Cole's 1.68 ERA, but fell to 0-4 when he pitches against Cincinnati after he gave up three runs in Saturday's 4-3 loss.
Cole is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against Los Angeles, only striking out four over 12 innings. Yasiel Puig is 5 for 6 with a pair of doubles in their matchups.