What goes up must eventually come down.
But the Los Angeles Dodgers may not stay down for long, not with Zack Greinke slated to pitch Monday night's opener of a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers had won or tied a club-record 18 straight series (14-0-4) before dropping the final two contests of a three-game set over the weekend to the Boston Red Sox. Their first series loss since June 14-16 at Pittsburgh was secured with Sunday's 8-1 defeat.
Jake Peavy held the Dodgers to just three hits in a complete-game effort, while Los Angeles starter Chris Capuano gave up three runs over five innings to take his first loss since July 4.
"(Capuano) was okay today, he deserved better," said Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly.
The Dodgers still lead the NL West by 9 1/2 games and will try to avoid losing three in a row for the first time since June 8-10. They turn to Greinke, who has won all four of his starts this month while allowing three runs over 28 innings for a 0.96 earned run average.
Greinke, who has not lost since July 25, hurled back-to-back scoreless outings ahead of a 4-1 win at Miami on Wednesday. The righty yielded a first-inning run, but nothing else over his eight-inning, six-hit performance. Greinke also struck out seven without a walk.
"Maybe I'm pitching better than I realize," said Greinke. "I just haven't been making a ton of mistakes and fixes some mechanical stuff. My changeup has been the best it's been in my career."
The 29-year-old moved to 12-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 21 starts this season. He is 3-2 with a 4.45 ERA in five career meetings with Chicago.
Greinke will look to extend the Dodgers' seven-game winning streak over the Cubs, which dates back to last season and includes a four-game sweep this year in Chicago from Aug. 1-4.
The Cubs hope to play spoiler behind Jake Arrieta, who makes his fourth start since coming over in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
Arrieta gave up just one run and four hits over 13 innings in his first two starts with the Cubs, but struggled in a no-decision versus Washington on Wednesday. The righty allowed six runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts over four innings.
Arrieta had similar control issues when he lost to the Dodgers while with the Orioles on April 21. He allowed five runs on two hits and five walks in four innings of his first ever meeting with the club.
The 27-year-old is 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA with the Cubs and 2-2 with a 5.75 ERA in eight total starts this year.
The Cubs have lost seven of their last nine and were bested 3-2 by the San Diego Padres on Sunday in 15 innings. Neither team plated a run through the first 12 frames, before both scored twice in the 13th.
San Diego finally won it on Nick Hundley's walk-off hit in the 15th.
"It's kind of a broken record a little bit," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said on his team's website. "These kind of games just get away from us. We played hard and battled and got a big, huge break (in the 13th) and just couldn't hold on."
Sveum was referring to a play by Nate Schierholtz, who was batting with the bases loaded in the 13th. He hit a ball to first base and stumbled out of the box. He then put his head down to rush to first and the throw home to get the lead runner actually hit him on the side of the helmet.
Schierholtz was safe on the play and a run scored, though the outfielder came out of the game because he hurt his back on the swing.