Zack Greinke wasn't happy with his previous start, in which he allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings against the Los Angeles Angels but still got the win.
Most pitchers would take such a performance and be quite satisfied. Greinke used it as motivation in his eight-inning domination of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, a 4-3 Dodgers win.
Greinke pitched eight scoreless innings to lower his major league-leading ERA to 1.61. Greinke (17-3) won his fourth straight game and eighth in the past nine starts, striking out eight and walking two. Of his 24 outs recorded, only one was a fly ball.
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"Just trying to get back to pitching like normal," Greinke said.
He's on quite a roll, with a good shot at a Cy Young award, and was asked if this is the best he's ever pitched.
"Maybe. I know what I'm doing more now," Greinke said. "Maybe more mentally aware of how things work than earlier in my career."
A.J. Ellis homered and Adrian Gonzalez had three hits to lead the NL West-leading Dodgers' offense. Kenley Jansen got the first two outs in the ninth inning before giving up a three-run home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The reliever struck out Jake Lamb to end the game.
The Dodgers scored single runs in the first and third innings. Justin Ruggiano led off the game with a double, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Justin Turner's single.
Turner singled and stole second base with one out, took third on another hit and scored on a fielder's choice by Scott Van Slyke to make the score 2-0 in the third inning.
Patrick Corbin (5-4) was charged with both runs and gave up eight hits in six innings, striking out four.
Greinke no-hit the Diamondbacks for four innings, the first Arizona hit coming in the bottom of the fifth with one out, a double by Saltalamacchia. The Diamondbacks had runners on second and third bases with two outs in the sixth, setting up a showdown between All-Stars in Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt.
Greinke struck out Goldschmidt swinging and fanned him three times in the game.
"Those are pretty good at-bats. You have to make pitches, execute. It's not easy," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The holes are small with him. You have to get the ball to certain spots, and if you miss, you usually pay."
LATOS TO THE PEN
Mattingly said pitcher Mat Latos (0-2, 6.56 earned run average) will move to the bullpen. Latos has struggled in four of five outings since being acquired by the Dodgers from Miami, failing to last five innings in each of those four starts. He missed his scheduled start last Wednesday with a stiff neck.
DIAMONDBACKS MULL MOVE WITH DE LA ROSA
Hale said the team is discussing moving pitcher Rubby De La Rosa out of starting against the Dodgers, with De La Rosa lined up to face his nemesis again later this month. De La Rosa has been pounded by the Dodgers' offense in three of four starts, including Saturday night, with three losses this season. "We have to do what's best for him, but also what's best for the team and give us a chance to win the game," Hale said.
Dodgers: 2B Howie Kendrick will play simulated games Monday and Tuesday as he works his way back from a hamstring injury. Mattingly said Kendrick will return to his starting spot at second base, where Chase Utley is playing regularly for now, when he is deemed ready. Utley could spell Kendrick and third baseman Turner.. SS Jimmy Rollins is scheduled to test his injured hand by throwing and hitting starting on Monday.. OF Carl Crawford was available to play Sunday after leaving Saturday's game with hamstring tightness.. Torreyes went in for Jose Peraza, who aggravated a hamstring injury, Mattingly said.
Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt twisted his right ankle catching a pop-up from Van Slyke in the fifth inning, but stayed in the game after getting taped up. "Sometimes those type of things the next day swell up a little bit so we'll check him (Monday) before we post the lineup," Hale said. . Hale said Corbin, who came back from elbow surgery earlier this season, is feeling strong and the plan is for him to finish the season in the rotation.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw and his 259 strikeouts and 13-6 record go against the Colorado Rockies in Los Angeles on Monday. Kershaw is 8-0 with a 0.93 ERA and three complete games in his last 11 starts.
Diamondbacks: RHP Jeremy Hellickson makes his first start since returning from the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. He takes on the San Diego Padres. Hellickson is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his last two starts, though he hasn't pitched since last month.