Surging Dodgers return home to face Reds
Zack Greinke has certainly enjoyed his first season calling Dodger Stadium home. The streaking hurler tries to remain unbeaten in his ballpark this season as the Los Angeles Dodgers kick off a four-game set with the Cincinnati Reds.
Signed to a six-year, $147 million deal prior to this season, Greinke has gone 5-0 with a 2.17 earned run average in seven starts at home this season. That includes a two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout of Colorado on July 13, his fifth straight victory in a row.
Greinke then opened his second half at Washington on Saturday and was able to avoid trouble in a no-decision. He gave up just a run despite seven hits and three walks and did not factor into a 3-1 victory in 10 innings.
"Got into some jams and made some good pitches," Greinke said on the Dodgers' website. "That was a problem, getting in trouble early, but I got through it, so that was nice.
"I made some good pitches in the first inning, so I was happy with that. But some other times I caught a couple breaks."
The 29-year-old righty, who has allowed just one run over his last 22 innings, is 8-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 15 starts this season. He'll also look to stay unbeaten versus the Reds, having gone 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in six previous meetings.
While Dodger Stadium has been a hearth for Greinke, it has been a house of horrors for Cincinnati starter Mat Latos. He is 0-5 in five career starts there, posting a 3.95 ERA.
Latos is 2-6 in nine career starts versus Los Angeles despite a solid 2.48 ERA. He'll look to add a win to that total in tonight's game.
The right-hander allowed 10 runs over 10 innings in his final two starts before the All-Star break, splitting two decisions, before opening the second half with a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. It was a long outing for Latos despite just five innings as he had to wait through a one-hour, 17- minute rain delay after the top of the first inning and then a four-run sequence by his offense in the home half.
In all, the 25-year-old gave up three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and four walks to move to 9-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 20 starts this season. He also allowed two homers in a game for the first time since May 11.
"If we had gone a whole lot longer, he might not have been able to come back," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his starter. "As it was, he was at 100 pitches in the fifth. He was really at about 125-130, including what we threw underneath to stay warm."
Latos faces a red-hot Dodgers team that returns home following a perfect six- game road trip. Los Angeles has won 10 in a row on the road for the first time since the Brooklyn-based club began the 1955 campaign by winning its first 11 as the visiting club.
The Dodgers finished off a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays with an impressive comeback on Wednesday. Los Angeles forced extra innings by scoring on its final out in the ninth, then plated five runs in the 10th frame for an 8-3 triumph.
Yasiel Puig scored the tying run in the ninth, racing home all the way from first when Andre Ethier's single got past Colby Rasmus for an error. Puig then followed Mark Ellis' two-run homer in the 10th with a solo shot of his own after a Carl Crawford fly out and Ethier doubled home a pair of runners in the frame as well.
"We just couldn't catch a break the whole game. We would get runners on, but just couldn't find a way to get them in. We should have had a lot more runs on the board than we did," said Ethier.
Ethier collected four hits and two RBI, while Puig finished a triple shy of the cycle to go with two RBI and two runs scored to help the Dodgers improve to 23-5 since June 22. That has vaulted the club 1 1/2 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West.
The Reds are trying to put together their own impressive run to make up ground and kicked off an 11-game road trip by taking three of four from the San Francisco Giants. They won Wednesday's finale 8-3 to remain five games back of St. Louis for the top spot in the NL Central.
Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Devin Mesoraco all drove in two runs each on Wednesday as Cincinnati won for the sixth time in its past eight games. Mike Leake gave up one run on 12 hits over six-plus innings to pick up the win.
"It wasn't a real pretty game, but we won. It was nice to come out here and win three out of four going into L.A.," said Baker.
The Dodgers won four of six versus the Reds a season ago.