By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO — It was all baseball and no brawling for Zack Greinke and the Dodgers on Saturday in a 6-1 win over the Padres.
An opposite-field home run by Adrian Gonzalez and a ridiculous monster shot by Hanley Ramirez backed Greinke, who returned to Petco Park and faced Carlos Quentin for the first time since an April 11 tangle left Greinke with collarbone surgery and Quentin with an eight-game suspension for causing it.
Greinke said this was his best start as a Dodger — one run on four hits in eight innings with eight strikeouts. Combined with power from the middle of the order, it stirred memories of the offseason master plan that has so far gone awry.
“It’s what we’re capable of,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We just have to put it out there consistently and gain confidence as a club.”
Mattingly concedes that losing takes a toll on the confidence of any club, even one with a $225 million payroll.
“When you don’t win and you sit there looking at last place in the standings and you’re not putting runs up consistently and the clubhouse doesn’t have [post-victory] music, to me, that hurts confidence,” the manager said. “It’s like not getting hits: I don’t care who you are, you lose confidence. It doesn’t mean you don’t believe in your team. Look at Toronto. They struggle, struggle, struggle … the next thing you know they put up 10 in a row. Ten days ago, they didn’t feel like that.”
Getting a dominant game from Greinke set the tone for this game, as apparently communication between the pitcher and Quentin after the brawl dialed down the animosity. There were no incidents, nothing close to a brushback pitch, and Quentin went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
“Today was just a little bit too much Greinke,” said San Diego manager Bud Black.
Greinke said he wasn’t any more motivated for this start because of the anticipated Quentin rematch, or because the Dodgers just needed a win.
“I don’t think much about it. It seems you guys do,” Greinke said of the supposed feud with Quentin. “Any time you try to do something along those lines [of carrying a team], it usually backfires. I try not to think of that, of trying to carry the team on your back. It takes more than one. We’ve been struggling. We’ve got to put together a 10-game streak to get back into it. We definitely can, and more than likely we will.”
Greinke (4-2) reflected an adjustment in his between-starts preparation, because he felt improved arm strength after throwing more long-toss and cutting his bullpen session to only a dozen pitches.
“I felt better today than the last game,” said Greinke. “With the extra day and throwing less [in the bullpen], my arm felt stronger and I had better fastball command.”
The results included striking out five of the first 11 batters, and he didn’t give up a hit until Chase Headley’s one-out bouncer in the fourth inning. That brought up Quentin, who had already struck out in his first-inning at-bat after a Headley walk, and struck out again this time on a 1-2 slider in the dirt.
Meanwhile, Padres starter Edison Volquez was unhittable early, but wild throughout (seven walks, seven strikeouts and two hits in 5 2/3 innings). Volquez still had a no-hitter going even after the Dodgers scored their first run. That came in the top of the fifth inning, when with one out, the righty walked Juan Uribe, A.J. Ellis and Greinke to load the bases, the last one coming after Greinke fouled off his first two bunt attempts.
- Greinke wins in return to scene of brawl (wdsu.com)
- Greinke Helps Dodgers Avoid Sweep From Padres (losangeles.cbslocal.com)