Zack Greinke's start to the season didn't go well, and the theme continued Monday, but he overcame the early woes to guide the Dodgers to a 3-2 win over the Cardinals. The $148 million dollar sub ace provided 6⅓ innings of two run ball with four strikeouts.
In the first inning the Cardinals were all over Greinke, yet it only translated into one run. Carlos Beltran knocked in the run on a fielders choice, putting St. Louis ahead 1-0. Despite Matt Holliday nearly hitting the ball 375 feet moments later, the Cardinals couldn't score again in the frame.
It wasn't always pretty for Greinke, as he worked out some tough jams. The biggest dilemma came in the fourth inning facing runners on first and third with no outs. Regardless of the predicament, Greinke remained composed and escaped unscathed. Greinke's recent rise in velocity stood in tact, touching 94 MPH consistently and keeping hitters off balanced with devastating off-speed pitches.
The Dodgers clutch fourth inning also happened at plate, grabbing a 2-1 lead via Andre Ethier's RBI single and AJ Ellis's RBI groundout. Adam Wainwright didn't have his A-game but still logged a quality start of seven innings, three runs and struck out five. Surprisngly, not everyone wearing blue was happy at the end of the rally.
Yasiel Puig blasted a long double to deep right center in the fourth inning and Adrian Gonzalez receieved the red light. The Cuban sensation obviously believed Gonzalez could've scored, which lead to a mini bickering match in the dugout. The four time all-star first baseman arguably possesses baseball's worst speed. The two stars made amends by the eighth frame, as Puig kissed Gonzalez on the head.
The drama clearly subsided and the ESPN clash carried on. David Freese doubled to deep right center in the fifth inning, but Allen Craig got gunned out at home. On the play, Puig made a barehanded grab off the wall and shortstop Nick Punto delivered a strike to Ellis in plenty of time.
Per usual, Greinke aided his own cause with a 2-out RBI single in the seventh inning, extending the Dodgers lead to 3-1. Greinke went 1-for-2 and now boasts a .405 batting average with a .476 on base percentage. Allen Craig and the Cardinals immediately responded with a RBI groundout, trimming the deficit to 3-2.
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Don Mattingly decided to give closer Kenley Jansen the day off. Therefore, Paco Rodriguez took on the ninth inning duties. The reliable left-hander successfully retired the side in order and recorded his second save on the season.
The boys in blue kept numerous streaks alive: 15 straight road wins, five consecutive wins overall and 10 straight wins in one run games. In addition, the Dodgers lead the all-time series with the Cardinals, 1,010-1,008.
On Tuesday, The Dodgers play the second game of the series against the Cardinals. Don Mattingly and company will attempt to win 16 straight on the road and sixth consecutive overall. Ace Clayton Kershaw gets the nod against Joe Kelly. The Dodgers trail the Cardinals 3-2 in the season series.
WP - Zack Greinke (9-3): 6⅓ IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk
LP - Adam Wainwright (13-7): 7 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks
Sv - Paco Rodriguez (2): 2 IP, no hits, 1 strikeout