LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Tonight featured division rivals in the National League west. The Arizona Diamondbacks engaged in battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As if that was not exciting enough, both teams sent their aces to the bump in a prime time, Friday Night Lights theme game. Zach Greinke, former Dodger, and teammate of Clayton Kershaw squared off. Ironically, this is the first time in their careers that they have faced off against each other.
The hype, however, was only one-sided. For the Dodgers, Kershaw was dealing. He retired the first 9 batters in a row before Arizona’s Chris Owings lined a single to center with one out in the fourth inning, and then another 12 in a row after. A single by Nick Ahmed in the eighth inning ended his streak.
This dominate performance by Kershaw improved his record to 2-1 on the season and lowered his earned run average (ERA) from 3.46 at game time to 2.25. His line had 8.1 innings, four hits, one run, one walk, and eight strikeouts.
“He was throwing a lot of strikes. Throwing to both sides of the plate. More times than not, he is a one side of the plate pitcher. Tonight, he was throwing to both sides. He was tough,” said Diamondbacks Ahmed.
His 8.1 innings were the most he’s pitched since May 23, 2016, when he tossed a two-hit complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds. Kershaw also improved his record against the Diamondbacks at home, going 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 12 career starts.
Greinke, even though he had four strikeouts through the first three innings, was not as dominating. In the second inning, a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play with the bases loaded bailed him out. He allowed two runs to the Dodgers in the third inning.
In the fourth inning, Los Angeles got to Greinke again for the second inning in a row, with Justin Turner doing the damage on a two-run single and extending the lead to 4-0.
The Dodgers scratched out another run off Greinke, which would prove to be his last inning of work. His line on the night read, five innings pitched, 10 hits, five runs, three walks, four strikeouts, and 107 pitches.
With the five earned runs allowed, Greinke’s ERA jumped from 2.31 at game time to 4.32 and evened his record on the season to 1-1. Against his former team, Greinke is now 3-3 in eight career starts.
“Wasn’t the best I ever pitched. Their at bats were super quality. They hit the ball hard a lot. Good game by them. They are an older, smarter team so I don’t trick them as much. Even the young guys took good at-bats against me. It was a tough game,” Greinke said of his performance.
On facing Kershaw, it’s a big challenge “Yea. Should be able to keep it closer than I did. Their team is good; it would have been nice to keep it closer for sure.”
Los Angeles (6-5) used an offense attack with 13 hits on the night. Logan Forsythe, Yasmani Grandal, Andrew Toles, Corey Seager and Justin Turner all had multiple hits. Toles added his third home run of the season with a two-run shot in the eighth inning. The Dodgers hit total surpassed the 11 they had on April 4 this season vs the Padres.
Arizona’s lone offensive threat on the night was Owings. In the ninth inning, he added a double for his second hit of the night which drove in the first and only run for the Diamondbacks. He went 2-4 in the contest and has hit safely in nine of his first ten games while batting .341 (14-41) with three doubles, a home run, and six RBI.
Ahmed and pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta, who singled in the ninth accounted for the other two hits.
Other than Paul Goldschmidt’s walk in the fourth inning, which was the first walk by Kershaw on the season, the offensive was lifeless against the Dodgers southpaw. Goldschmidt added a walk in the ninth for his second of the game.
The game had 49,438 fans in attendance for this match up at Dodger Stadium. The shutout was the first for the Dodgers at home this season. The last pitcher to accomplish that was Kershaw.
Both teams back at it tomorrow night, with first pitch at 5:10 MST. Arizona will send Patrick Corbin (1-1) while Kenta Maeda (1-0) for Los Angeles.