It was going to happen someday. Nobody keeps a roll going like that forever, not even Zack Greinke. Inevitable as a spring breeze.
Greinke’s streak of giving up two or fewer runs in 21 consecutive starts finally came to an end Thursday, if equipped with something of an asterisk. Only one of the three runs he surrendered was earned.
And even if Justin Turner made up for an earlier costly error with a two-run homer that tied the score, a struggling start by Greinke and another flat performance by the Dodgers led to a 5-3 victory for the Mets at Citi Field.
Greinke wasn’t awful or anything, but he was far from sharp. He struggled with his control most of the night and left after the fifth inning having already thrown 101 pitches.
He gave up the three runs on four hits and a pair of walks. He struck out four. He still hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in 22 consecutive starts, which according to ESPN, passes Roger Clemens for the longest streak in major-league history.
The Dodgers took an early 1-0 lead on an Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice fly in the first inning, but that’s all they could manage against left-hander Jonathan Niese over six innings.
The Dodgers again failed to play sharp baseball. It certainly was not their best defensive effort, and the Mets tied the score in the second inning when Curtis Granderson doubled and Matt Kemp missed the ball for an error to allow Granderson to take third. He scored on an Eric Campbell sacrifice fly.
The inning could have been worse for the Dodgers, but Yasiel Puig made a highlight-reel diving, backhanded catch of a Wilmer Flores line drive to right-center field.
In the fifth inning, doubles by Anthony Recker and Niese scored one, and when Turner couldn’t come up with a Daniel Murphy roller for another error, Niese scored.
Turner, who played for the Mets last season, tied the score with his two-run homer in the seventh inning, but New York regained the lead against Chris Perez in the bottom of the inning. Perez put the winning run in scoring position with a wild pitch before Juan Lagares singled.
In the eighth inning, David Wright singled and Granderson was credited with a triple when his drive went off the wall and got past Kemp and Puig.
There was little about the night that looked pretty for the Dodgers.