Zack Greinke didn’t throw a perfect game in his Dodger premiere, but that’s the only way he disappointed.
Greinke allowed only a questionable single in his first six innings for Los Angeles, whose bats came ever so slightly to life in a 3-0 victory tonight against Pittsburgh.
The new Dodger righty had thrown 84 pitches in retiring 18 of 19 batters over six innings, then gave up consecutive hard-hit balls to start the seventh. One was caught, but after the other by Andrew McCutchen went up the middle for a single, Dodger manager Don Mattingly rightfully decided that Greinke, whose Spring Training was interrupted by a tender elbow, had done quite enough.
Paco Rodriguez relieved and put out the mini-threat with a strikeout of Pedro Alvarez, with A.J. Ellis throwing out McCutchen trying to steal. Kenley Jansen retired the side after a leadoff walk in the eighth, and Brandon League closed the door perfectly in the ninth for the year’s first Dodger save.
Los Angeles got ahead to stay in the second inning when Andre Ethier hit the Dodgers’ first non-Clayton Kershaw homer of 2013, off Pirates starter Jonathan Sanchez. It was Ethier’s third extra-base hit in his first seven at-bats off portsiders this season.
Greinke was living with that narrow margin until the bottom of the sixth, when Mark Ellis drew the Dodgers’ first walk of the game and Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez (2 for 4) followed with RBI doubles. The Kemp hit, of course, was his first of the season (ending an 0-for-12 streak), and he beamed at second base.
Los Angeles, which got nice glovework tonight after giving up a pair of unearned runs in each of the previous two contests, has a team ERA of 1.00 after four games. Opponents are batting .177 with three walks and 29 strikeouts.
On the other hand, the left side of the Dodger infield is 0 for 25 with two walks and two errors.
Below: a fantastic play by Dee Gordon for Albuquerque tonight