Greinke, Gonzalez face off for battle of streaking hurlers in DC

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke has sparkled in his last two starts, while Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez hasn't lost since late May.

The two hurlers face each other Saturday night at Nationals Park in the continuation of a three-game series.

Greinke, who is trying for career victory No. 100, has won five consecutive starts, one off a career-high. He won six straight decisions during the 2011 season with Milwaukee and six consecutive starts to begin 2009 with Kansas City. His last defeat came June 16 at Pittsburgh.

Greinke has given up two hits in each of his last two starts and hasn't let up a run either time, covering 16 innings. That includes a shutout at home against Colorado a week ago. Greinke retired the first 13 batters and posted his fourth career shutout and first since his 2009 AL Cy Young season.

This will be Greinke's fourth start against the Nationals and he's yet to lose. Greinke has posted a 3-0 mark with a 1.86 ERA. His first time facing the Nationals this year came May 15 when he yielded a run over 5 1/3 innings.

Gonzalez is also riding a strong personal winning streak with victories in his last four starts. He's unbeaten (4-0) in his last eight starts and hasn't lost since May 27 against Baltimore. Over his last three outings, Gonzalez has given up only four runs covering 20 2/3 innings.

This will be Gonzalez's second time facing the Dodgers. He limited them to three hits and a pair of runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss April 29, 2012.

Andre Ethier's solo home run in the ninth inning lifted the Dodgers to a 3-2 win last night. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run homer and Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and scored a run for the Dodgers, who have won 18 of their last 23 games.

The surge has inched the Dodgers to within 1 1/2 games of NL West-leading Arizona.

"These games that we're winning now that we were losing at the beginning of the year definitely make it a lot more fun," Ethier said. "Always, the cure for a bad time is when you start putting W's out there."

Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco, who made his third start for the Dodgers, allowed two runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Ronald Belisario (4-5) earned the win after recording the final out of the eighth inning and Kenley Jansen picked up his 10th save after retiring the side in order in the ninth.

Ian Desmond had two hits and an RBI and Bryce Harper added a pair of hits and a run scored for the Nationals, losers in six of their last eight games.

"We didn't drive in hardly any runs. We swung the bats pretty good, but it leaves a tough taste in your mouth," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Rafael Soriano (1-2) was pegged with the loss after giving up Ethier's homer. Starter Stephen Strasburg yielded two runs on seven hits while striking out six over seven innings.

The Dodgers have won nine of the last 12 meetings.