All-Star Zack Greinke shuts down the Phillies in Dodgers’ 6-0 win

first_imgSince they joined forces in Los Angeles, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw have been called the best 1-2 combination among starting pitchers in baseball. Sometimes this season, the results have made it a little tougher to defend this claim.In what could be their final starts before the All-Star Game, the two pitchers might have reclaimed their lofty reputation.Greinke shut out the Phillies for eight innings Thursday, needing only 94 pitches to do so in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win. The ninth inning, pitched capably by veteran Joel Peralta, was the only thing separating Kershaw and Greinke (8-2) from back-to-back shutout victories.Greinke, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said, was “more impressive than the guy last night.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Mackanin might be splitting hairs. Neither Kershaw nor Greinke walked a batter. Kershaw struck out 13 to Greinke’s eight, while Greinke retired 24 of the 25 hitters he faced and barely broke a sweat in a crisp 2-hour, 14-minute game.The only runner against Greinke came when Ryan Howard singled against an infield shift in the second inning.Overall, Greinke’s first half has been one for the ages. Consider:• Greinke has not allowed a run in his last five starts, a streak bettered by only two pitchers (former Dodgers Orel Hershiser and Don Drysdale) since 1920.• In Dodgers history Only Hershiser, Drysdale and Kershaw have thrown more consecutive scoreless innings than Greinke (35 2/3).center_img • Greinke’s 1.39 earned-run average is the lowest by any pitcher going into the All-Star break since 1981 and the lowest by any Dodger since Drysdale’s 1.37 in 1968.“Zack just kind of came out of the gate throwing the ball well from the very beginning,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “The first couple years, felt like it took him a while to get into his groove, then he got going and really became like this.”Greinke’s reward: A spot in the All-Star Game next Tuesday and possibly a starting assignment. Kershaw might join Greinke in Cincinnati, though he is polling fourth among five candidates to represent the National League in the “Final Vote” as determined by online voting.The Dodgers’ offense touched Phillies starter Severino Gonzalez (3-3) for four runs in 5 2/3 innings Thursday. Two came on a home run off the right field foul pole by Adrian Gonzalez and two came on a double by Yasiel Puig that broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Puig also hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning, his first since June 10, before the announced crowd of 41,290 at Dodger Stadium.“It’s been a while since I’ve done anything,” Puig quipped in Spanish after the game.The Dodgers, after winning three of four games from the Phillies, will host the Milwaukee Brewers for three games this weekend.Milwaukee will miss both Kershaw and Greinke in the series. Mattingly said he’d like to split the two aces up when the rotation resets in the second half.The Brewers might also miss Dodgers left fielder Andre Ethier, who left Thursday’s game after six innings with tightness in his left quadriceps muscle. Mattingly said he is hopeful that Ethier can play today. At 49-38, the Dodgers are 11 games over .500 and 5 1/2 games ahead of Arizona and San Francisco, who are currently tied for second place in the National League West. No matter what, they’ll finish the first half in first place.For a moment then, it’s safe to sit back and appreciate what Greinke has done. For his part, Greinke said he isn’t paying attention to his scoreless-innings streak, and doesn’t care whether or not he starts the All-Star Game. He even casually predicted his own demise, saying “I think people will start getting more hits off me in the second half.”Yasmani Grandal, who’s caught all but two of Greinke’s 18 starts this season, compared the task of catching Greinke these days to playing a video game.“He’s almost been perfect,” Grandal said.last_img

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