Today’s game started out looking like the last few, but the Dodgers finally got off of the “treadmill to oblivion” (Vin Scully, still the best) to beat the Giants 6-2.
Zack Greinke started shaky, but turned in another great start for the Dodgers. He walked three batters and hit one more, but he struck out eight batters in his seven innings of work (and, notably, didn’t give up any homers). Greinke allowed two runs, making this his 20th consecutive start allowing two runs or fewer. There really aren’t many superlatives left to describe how good he’s been for the Dodgers. He even touched 96 on his fastball in the first inning on a pitch which struck out Pablo Sandoval to strand the bases loaded.
The two runs Greinke allowed can be partially attributed to bad defense, too. In the second inning, Greinke allowed Brandon Crawford to reach on a bloop single and walked Brandon Hicks. Matt Cain bunted and Greinke fielded the ball with an easy play at third. However, Chone Figgins, starting at third base in place of the injured Juan Uribe, wasn’t there to take the throw. Hunter Pence scored Crawford on a sacrifice fly (perhaps only scoring a run since Matt Kemp slipped while throwing) and Buster Posey drove in the second run with a single. Figgins hasn’t played much defense in the last few years and he certainly looked rusty today; he also committed a throwing error in the third inning. Get well soon, Juan.
Matt Cain didn’t really have his best stuff today, but the Dodgers didn’t break through until after he was removed from the game in the sixth. After walking Dee Gordon (who then stole his third base of the game), allowing a bloop single to Yasiel Puig (on a ball which Michael Morse should have caught) and walking Hanley Ramirez (after Hector Sanchez dropped a foul ball), Cain was pulled from the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Jeremy Affeldt was put into the game, promptly inducing a double play off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez, which scored Gordon. Kemp then singled to left, driving in Puig. After all was said and done, Cain went five-plus innings, striking out four but also walking four.
The Dodgers added additional scoring in the seventh. Drew Butera, who is doing his best to remove the “worst hitter in history” label, doubled. Dee Gordon, left in against the lefty Affeldt, doubled down the left field line. Puig then hit a ground-rule double to left to drive in Gordon, and the Dodgers led 4-2.
Brian Wilson looked shaky yet again in the eighth, loading the bases before escaping the jam. The Dodgers then added a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the inning on a Kemp opposite-field solo shot and a sacrifice fly by Butera. Chris Perez finished the game with a perfect ninth inning.
After today’s win, the Dodgers will go for a split with Clayton Kershaw on the mound tomorrow. Suddenly things don’t seem quite as bad.