LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke gave the Dodgers the long start their bullpen desperately needed and even factored in at the plate in the Dodgers' 5-2 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
"Zack was pretty good tonight, again," said manager Don Mattingly after the game.
Greinke pitched into the eighth inning and allowed two runs on five hits and a walk. At 107 pitches and a 2-1 lead, he was allowed to bat in the seventh inning, and doubled with two outs. He scored on a Yasiel Puig triple to widen the lead to 3-1, but promptly gave up a leadoff home run to Jayson Nix in the eighth, reverting to a one-run lead.
Mattingly said his plan was to have Greinke only face one batter in the eighth inning, and he removed Greinke after the home run to Nix, on his 108th pitch.
Greinke struck out a season-high 11 on the night, including five straight in the fourth and fifth innings. On the season Greinke has struck out 34.2% of his batters faced this season, well above his career high of 28.1% set in 2011 with Milwaukee.
"I have no idea how that's happened. I'm not even trying to, and I'm throwing slower. Some games I saw a bunch looking, today it was a bunch swinging," Greinke said. "I'm sure it will come back down pretty soon, because I'm not doing anything special, that's for sure."
The 11 strikeouts for Greinke are his highest as a Dodger, and his most since Sept. 25, 2012 with the Angels. Greinke is the first Dodger to strikeout double digits in a game this season. He has 40 strikeouts against just five walks on the season.
"I don't know what the numbers are, strikeouts, wins or whatever. I think the biggest thing is that he competes," said catcher Drew Butera. "He loves to compete, it's something that he thrives on. It's something that great players and great pitchers do. He loves to have the ball in his hand and he loves to be on the mound.
Puig went 2-for-4 on the night and drove in the final two Dodger runs. His single in the fifth scored, who singled to start the two-out rally then advanced to second on a walk by Greinke.
Hanley Ramirez, who entered the game in a 2-for-20 slump, was 2-for-4 on the night and homered in the eighth inning, part of a two-run insurance rally.
"When I hit that home run, everybody woke up," Ramirez told Alanna Rizzo on the field right after the game.
Kemp against southpaws
Matt Kemp doubled to lead off the second inning, advanced to third on Scott Van Slyke's single, then scored on Juan Uribe's sacrifice fly to deep right field for the first run of the game and the Dodgers' first run of the series. Kemp also doubled in the fourth inning.
Kemp began play on Wednesday a career .338/.400/.563 hitter against left-handed pitching, but started the 2014 campaign 0-for-13 against southpaws. But since that slow start he is 5-for-11 with three doubles against lefties.
Kemp in his career is 11-for-28 (.393) with four doubles off Cole Hamels.
Butera had the 14th multi-hit game of his career, and his second of the year.
Hamels singled with two outs in the third inning, the first runner allowed by Greinke to reach base. Phillies pitchers are 5-for-9 in the series, while Dodgers pitchers are 5-for-45 for the entire season, including Greinke's single and walk on Wednesday.
"I came into the game just trying to focus straight on pitching, because when I do start thinking about hitting it messes with my pitching sometimes," Greinke said. "Today was one of those days that it didn't cross my mind to get on base, really. Just go bunt if you had to and make a tough at-bat."
Home run: Hanley Ramirez (3)
WP - Zack Greinke (4-0): 7+ IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
LP - Cole Hamels (0-1): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (8): 1 IP, 1 strikeout