Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Zack Greinke outduels Madison Bumgarner

As expected/promised, it was a pitching duel in Chavez Ravine on Tuesday night, with Zack Greinke besting Madison Bumgarner in the Dodgers’ 2-1 win.

The Dodgers attempted to get things started in the second inning. With two runners on, Greinke lined a ball at 99 MPH down the third base line, but Matt Duffy dove and speared it. If he doesn’t, the Dodgers score two on the play. At the plate, Greinke saw 16 pitches in his three plate appearances, because of course he did. The Dodgers came back in the third inning to score a run. With two outs, Jose Peraza blooped a single to right field. He didn’t steal second base because he couldn’t get a read on Bumgarner’s move — he was almost back on the bag when Bumgarner delivered pitches a couple times. It didn’t matter as Justin Turner walked to give the Dodgers runners on first and second base. Adrian Gonzalez laced a ball to left for the game’s first run.

Greinke was on cruise control during the middle portion of his outing. He entered the seventh inning having retired 13 consecutive hitters since a Peraza error on a pop fly (he’d make up for that later). Naturally, he allows a hit to Brandon Belt and issues a walk to Buster Posey. Marlon Byrd grounded a pitch wide of third, Justin Turner slid, spun and threw. Byrd was called out. After a review, the call was confirmed as there was no definitive proof going the other way. Then, Greinke got a break. On 2-2, Greinke threw a changeup that was clearly outside, but the home plate umpire called strike three. It was the biggest break of the night for him. Greinke would get Kelby Tomlinson to fly out right field to end the seventh. But it wasn’t without some concern:

If anyone needed a good game outside of Joc Pederson, I’m not sure who that player is. Going up against Bumgarner, it wasn’t going to be an easy task. But Pederson looked pretty solid in his first two plate appearances, even though he made two outs.

And then this:

Shades of April and May. That ball had an exit velocity of 106 MPH and traveled 399 feet … after Pederson got behind in the count 0-2. That made it 2-0 Dodgers. It was the best plate appearance Pederson has had in a month or two, and it was the best his swing has looked in a long time. I know it’s just one game, but it’s still encouraging, especially against a great pitcher like Bumgarner.

Greinke must have been OK because he came out for the eighth inning at 106 pitches. I thought he would have been done after seven, but after getting Norichika Aoki to line out to left, he allowed three consecutive singles to Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Matt Duffy — which ended his night. Greinke’s line: 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 114 pitches, 76 strikes, 6/6 GO/AO. It was the second-most pitches Greinke has thrown in a game this season. With the expanded rosters, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see Greinke have his next start pushed by a day or two to get him some extra rest.

Luis Avilan relieved Greinke and had a 7-pitch showdown against Brandon Belt, who had some good at-bats against Greinke. It resulted in this fantastic double play started by Peraza:

Oh my. That, combined with Hector Olivera‘s 0-for-4 MLB debut, it’s pretty safe to say the Dodgers won the trade.

The Dodgers improve to 74-57 with the win and push their lead in the National League West to 5 1/2 games. Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.24 ERA) takes the mound in the final game of the series against Mike Leake (9-6, 3.53). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.