By Jon Weisman
Zack Greinke gave up five runs in his first inning of August. For the rest of the month, his ERA was 1.36.
Greinke improved those figures with seven shutout innings today at Cincinnati, and the Dodgers needed every one of them, hanging on for a 1-0 victory.
The Dodgers grounded into five double plays, tying a team record, including a franchise record-tying three by Yasmani Grandal — then wasted a bases-loaded, none-out opportunity in the ninth with a strikeout and two foulouts.
Fortunately for Los Angeles, the first GIDP scored a run in the second inning, and it held up, despite the offensive struggles and injuries to Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig.
Only in the fifth inning did trouble find Greinke: a first-and-third situation with one out and 22 pitches already thrown in the frame. But Greinke was able to use opposing pitcher Anthony DeSciafani and technically-the-leadoff-hitter Skip Schumaker as an escape hatch, striking out both.
Greinke now has a 3.46 ERA in the first inning this year, and a 1.29 ERA after the first inning. Throwing 109 pitches, Greinke struck out nine against six baserunners today. For the year, his ERA is 1.61.
With Kenley Jansen having pitched the first two games of the series, it was up to Chris Hatcher and Jim Johnson to close out the game. And with a shutout inning apiece, they did.
The Dodgers are 4-1 in games decided by a 1-0 score this season.