Dodgers 3, Nationals 1: Zack Greinke wins return to mound

USA TODAY Sports

Don't look now, but the Dodgers have won four of their last five games.

Zack Greinke made a successful return to the mound just a month after suffering a major injury, and Kenley Jansen and the bullpen made a one-run lead stand up, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 victory over the Nationals for their second straight series win and fourth victory in their last five contests.

The Dodgers scored single runs in each of the first two innings, each on a two-out single. After Matt Kemp doubled in the first to extend his hitting streak to a team-high 14 games, Adrian Gonzalez singled him home and improved to a ridiculous 8-for-10 this season with runners in scoring position and two outs. In the second inning, after a potentially deflating double play by Juan Uribe, Greinke helped his own cause with a single to right field to score Andre Ethier from third base.

Greinke ran into some trouble in the fourth inning. LaRoche homered to center field to cut the lead to 2-1, but Greinke also allowed a single to catcher Wilson Ramos and was generally in a battle for most of the frame. He ultimately only allowed the one run, but threw 28 pitches in the fourth.

Greinke was pulled after 83 pitches with one out and nobody on in the sixth, apparently hitting or nearing a pitch limit in his first game back.

Whether intentional or not, Jansen was deployed as the fireman on Wednesday night.

One night after Jansen was the no-doubt only option when the Dodgers needed a single out to close out the victory, Jansen was brought in not in a save situation but rather in a spot reserved for the best man in the bullpen. With Denard Span on first base and two outs, Jansen was brought in to collect four outs, with the heart of the Nationals lineup due up, spots two through five of their batting order.

As Steve Lombardozzi was batting against Jansen with Span the tying run on first, Span was thrown out trying to steal second base on a perfect throw by A.J. Ellis. As noted on the Prime Ticket broadcast by Vin Scully, runners were 18-for-18 in stolen base attempts against Jansen in his career before Span was thrown out.

In the eighth inning Jansen got into a jam after a pair of bloop singles put runners at the corners with nobody out. But Adam LaRoche flew out to Scott Van Slyke in left field, too shallow to score Lombardozzi from third base. Jansen then struck out Ian Desmond and got Kurt Suzuki to fly out to right field to end the inning.

The Dodgers added an insurance run in the eighth inning, giving Brandon League a two-run cushion. After a leadoff single to open the inning, League retired the final three batters, including a pinch-hitting Bryce Harper, on three ground outs.

Rehabbing Lefties

Ted Lilly allowed four runs on five hits in five innings in a minor league rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night. Lilly, on the disabled list with a right rib cage strain, walked three, struck out three and threw 75 pitches.

Scott Elbert followed Lilly and pitched a scoreless sixth inning, throwing 18 pitches while allowing a hit and a walk. Elbert, who hasn't pitched in the majors since August and had two elbow surgeries during the offseason, has pitched three scoreless innings in three appearances in a week with the Quakes.

Up next

The Dodgers are off on Thursday, but open up a six-game road trip on Friday night in Atlanta. Hyun-jin Ryu starts the opener of a three-game weekend series against the Braves, facing off against fellow southpaw Paul Maholm.

Friday's particulars

Home run: Adam LaRoche (4)

WP - Zack Greinke (2-0): 5⅓ IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts

LP - Ross Detwiler (2-4): 3 IP, 6 hits 2 runs, 2 walks

Sv - Brandon League (9): 1 IP, 1 hit

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