In the fourth inning, after the Dodgers were down 3-0, Gonzalez went to the plate after Carl Crawford walked and stole second. Gonzalez singled Crawford home to cut the lead, then scored a run on an Erisbel Arruebarrena sacrifice fly. Gonzalez came to bat again in the fifth inning with Greinke and Crawford on base. Jacob deGrom, the Mets’ starter (who struggled a bit tonight in his first start after returning from the disabled list), threw Gonzalez a high and outside 96 mph fastball. Gonzalez somehow pulled it over the right field fence for a three run home run. Gonzalez’ lack of power after May has been disappointing, but that pitch proves that he still has some strength left. Gonzalez drove in another run in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly, aided by a should-be error and an actual error (love you, Mets). After all was said and done, Gonzalez drove in five runs, which was enough to propel the Dodgers to victory.
Not to be overshadowed, though, is this:
This was with a runner on third base and one out, so Gonzalez’ incredible stretch (and Dee Gordon‘s pick and throw after a bad throw from Miguel Rojas) saved a run. Greinke was really laboring at the time, so getting him back to the dugout was important.
Now, for the other big story. Zack Greinke, throwing with a tender elbow, wasn’t quite himself tonight. His velocity was fine, but he wasn’t striking batters out. In his seven innings pitched, Greinke struck out just four batters (two looking). However, he did induce eleven swinging strikes in 105 pitches, which is pretty good. Five of those swinging strikes came in the seventh inning alone, three by David Wright as he struck out to end a Mets threat.
Greinke’s fastball command wavered at times, but it was nowhere near as bad as it was his last time out. His only walk tonight was an intentional pass after falling behind in the count. Oddly, Greinke started out throwing only fastballs (his first sixteen pitches were either two or four seamers), but he did start mixing in off-speed pitches at a normal rate after that. He also allowed nine hits, which is about what you’d expect given the high number of balls put into play. It was definitely a battle for Greinke tonight.
However, the biggest problem Greinke had was not a new one. He allowed a three run home run by Juan Lagares in the fourth inning and a solo shot by Lucas Duda in the sixth. Those two home runs bring Greinke’s yearly total up to eighteen, second on the Dodger staff behind Dan Haren. The first home run could have been prevented if not for a Rojas error on a potential inning-ending double play, but Greinke still made the bad pitch afterwards.
Ultimately, the important thing is that Greinke survived. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear how he feels, though the fact that Don Mattingly left him in after a mound visit in the seventh is somewhat encouraging.
After Greinke’s exit, J.P. Howell got an out on three pitches, then Brian Wilson allowed runners to get to second and third before escaping the inning unscathed. Kenley Jansen closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning and two strikeouts.
In conclusion, here’s a dog wearing a Greinke jersey.