Zack Greinke did his job, even a tad more. Then the rest of the Dodgers did just enough of theirs to emerge with a 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 36,721.
Greinke, making his first start since suffering a broken collarbone April 11, turned in a solid 5 1/3 innings. Coming back three weeks early, he had to have made the Dodgers very encouraged.
He gave up a solo home run to Adam LaRoche in the fourth inning, but otherwise was able to keep the Nationals at bay.
Greinke (2-0) gave up five hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four. He threw 83 pitches, seemingly a nice number for his first game back.
He wasn’t exactly dominating but, as he promised, he certainly pitched well enough to win.
The Dodgers scored their first runs for Greinke early, getting one each in the first and second innings off left-hander Ross Detwiler.
They put together a little two-out rally in the first inning when Matt Kemp hit a ground-rule double into the right-field seats to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Adrian Gonzalez singled up the middle to score Kemp.
In the second inning, Andre Ethier led off with a single and Scott Van Slyke, getting his first start of the season in left field, walked. Juan Uribe bounced into a double play, but then Greinke -- who had taken almost no batting practice the last five weeks -- sliced a single to right to score Ethier.
As Manager Don Mattingly had alluded, he brought Kenley Jansen in not as his closer Wednesday, but in the seventh inning to face the heart of Washington’s lineup.
And the decision nearly blew up on him.
Jansen got out of the seventh when A.J. Ellis threw out Denard Span attempting to steal -- the first base stealer thrown out in 19 attempts on Jansen -- but quickly got into big trouble in the eighth.
Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. But Jansen dug in and came up huge, getting LaRoche to fly out to shallow left, striking out Ian Desmond and retiring Kurt Suzuki on a fly to right.
Brandon League came on to pitch a scoreless ninth, just like a closer, to earn his ninth save.
The Nationals were playing their second consecutive game without sophomore sensation Bryce Harper, still sore after running into the right-field wall on Monday. He pinch-hit in the ninth and bounced out.
The Dodgers added an insurance run in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases on a Kemp hit and a pair of walks, and pinch-hitter Carl Crawford delivered a sacrifice fly to center.
The victory gave the Dodgers the series against the Nationals and marked their fourth victory in five games after an eight-game losing streak.