Zack Greinke's bat made more of an impact than his arm in his latest effort.
After his worst start in three years, Greinke goes for a seventh straight win as he tries to help the Los Angeles Dodgers snap their longest losing streak of the season Tuesday night against the visiting Washington Nationals.
Greinke (11-2, 1.71 ERA) owns the lowest ERA in baseball, despite surrendering five runs before recording an out Thursday at Philadelphia. He made up for it by going 3 for 3 with a solo homer and three runs in a 10-8 win.
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"I was mad after the first inning so I had motivation to get more hits," said Greinke, who went six innings and gave up six earned runs for the first time since a loss with the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 19, 2012.
The right-hander is still 6-0 with a 1.39 ERA in his last nine starts and he last won seven straight decisions in a single season during a span of nine games from Aug. 5-Sept. 17, 2013.
Greinke's current unbeaten stretch includes yielding three hits with a season-high 11 strikeouts in eight innings of a 5-0 win at Washington on July 19. He's 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in six career starts against the Nationals, and his RBI single was the difference in winning the most recent at Dodger Stadium on May 15, 2013.
Since joining Los Angeles before 2013, Greinke is 23-5 with a 2.10 ERA in 41 starts at Dodger Stadium - 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 12 games this year.
Los Angeles hasn't won since Greinke's latest start, compiling an 8.47 ERA during a four-game slide after falling 8-3 in Monday's series opener.
The Dodgers (62-50) are 2 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco for the NL West lead, and the Nationals (58-53) are trying to close the 1 1/2-game gap on the New York Mets for first in the East.
Washington, though, has alternated wins and losses over the last seven games after losing four in a row.
Joe Ross (3-3, 2.80) will try to break that trend as he takes the mound with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.75, the highest since 1900 by a rookie with at least 45 innings.
The 22-year-old right-hander had seven strikeouts and no walks while yielding one run in six innings of an 8-3 win over Arizona on Thursday. That earned Ross a spot in the rotation at the expense of Doug Fister, who moved to the bullpen.
"You see progress in what he has been able to do," ace Max Scherzer told MLB's official website. "You could see the command of the off-speed pitches. That's vital to have success (in the big leagues).
"He doesn't strike me as a rookie. He strikes me as somebody who has pitched a couple of years in the big leagues. That's so encouraging from within seven starts."
Ross is facing the Dodgers for the first time, and he's 1-1 with a 3.10 ERA, 21 strikeouts and three walks in 20 1-3 innings over three road starts.
Ian Desmond is on a tear, going 8 for 19 with three homers, two doubles and six RBIs in five games. He had a two-run shot and a solo blast among his three hits in the opener, but he's 0 for 13 versus Greinke.
Yunel Escobar is 1 for 9 in the matchup but his two hits Monday gave him a .417 average in his last nine games at Los Angeles.