Zack Greinke bests Dodgers, 3-2, in first matchup since departure
The shock of his departure faded months ago, but Monday offered the Dodgers an in-person encounter with Zack Greinke for the first time in 2016. And he, in turn, saw the collection of misfiring parts that make up the latest edition of the Dodgers.
Greinke wore the oddly styled uniform of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with splotches of red on the shoulders and ankles, and he toiled for a team already drifting away from playoff contention. But on this night, in a 3-2 Dodgers defeat, he reminded his former club of his worth. Across seven innings of two-run baseball, he sidestepped the Dodgers’ attempts at an offensive revival and extended their losing streak to three games.
“We saw the best of Zack Greinke,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “Obviously, he wanted to show well against his former team.”
Justin Turner tagged Greinke with a run-scoring double in the first. Corey Seager supplied a solo home run in the fifth. Otherwise, Greinke avoided danger. He struck out six, scattered seven hits and contributed to the go-ahead run against Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger. The Diamondbacks whacked a pair of home runs against Bolsinger, then manufactured the winning rally after Greinke’s single in the fifth.
After Greinke departed, an opportunity arose in the eighth. Diamondbacks reliever Daniel Hudson walked the bases loaded with one out. Into the fire came sidearmer Brad Ziegler. He fanned Enrique Hernandez with ease. Howie Kendrick hit a sinking line drive that center fielder Michael Bourn dived to snag.
In all, the Dodgers (33-32) went hitless in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Ten men were stranded. In his office afterward, Roberts searched for optimism.
“We competed for nine innings, so that was really good to see,” Roberts said. “A couple plays that they made, a couple hits that would have fallen, it would have been a different game. But I applaud our guys for the way they competed tonight.”
This — the applause for effort — is what the performance of the Dodgers has left Roberts with. He could not harangue the front office for allowing the Diamondbacks to capitalize on the team’s fiscal restraint over the winter and overwhelm Greinke with a six-year, $206-million offer. He can say only so much about the underwhelming performance of his hitters.
The Dodgers showed some life in the first inning. Seager scored on Turner’s double. But Arizona reclaimed the advantage after a homer by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and another by third baseman Jake Lamb.
Seager knotted the score in the fifth. He pounced on a slider on the inner half of the plate for his 15th homer of the season. Greinke did not panic.
“I don’t think you’re going to catch him off guard like that,” Seager said. “He’s going to come out and do exactly what he did.”
Trusting Bolsinger to maintain the deadlock proved foolhardy. He lived on the edge for the duration of his outing. Not the edge of the strike zone — the edge of disaster. He served up a series of well-struck outs, with his outfielders repeatedly ranging back to the warning track. Even Greinke smacked a pair of drives, including a single in the fifth inning.
The hit by Greinke enlivened the crowd and led to Arizona’s reclaiming the lead. After shortstop Nick Ahmed hit into a fielder’s choice, he swiped second base when Bolsinger bounced a curveball in the dirt. Second baseman Jean Segura ripped a single to put the Diamondbacks in front.
In the sixth, Greinke stranded Joc Pederson after a one-out double. He yielded a leadoff single to Kendrick in the seventh, prompting Arizona Manager Chip Hale to visit the mound. Looming were Seager and Turner, who had damaged Greinke all evening.
Greinke lobbied to stay in the game. Hale stuck with him. Seager hit a harmless fly ball to left. Turner chased a low changeup to strike out. Greinke put his head down as he headed to the home dugout, an ace on a losing team, but a winner for an evening.
Roberts also retreated to a similar position, trying to explain the failings of his offense.
“It was a well-played game,” Roberts said. “But as we sit here, having lost three straight to division opponents, that makes it tougher, certainly. But I think the intent from our offense was what I like to see. And if we can maintain that, we’ll be much better.”
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