Zack Greinke continued his mound dominance and Hanley Ramirez went deep to spoil Ryne Sanberg's managerial debut, as the Dodgers beat the Phillies 4-0 in the opener of a three-game weekend series on Friday night in Philadelphia.
It is the first nine-game winning streak for the Dodgers since May 9-18, 2010.
The Dodgers are 24-3 since the All-Star break, and 41-8 since June 22. The Dodgers are the 16th team to win at least 41 games in a 50-game span, and the previous 15 all made it to the World Series. The Dodgers are just the third such team after 1953, joining the 1975 Reds and 1998 Yankees.
Greinke was effective yet again, pitching scoreless ball into the eighth inning. He walked more (four) than he struck out (three) but also allowed only three hits. Greinke left after allowing a walk and a single in the eighth inning, but both were stranded with a little help from his friends.
Paco Rodriguez struck out Chase Utley but walked Domonic Brown to load the bases. Ronald Belisario entered with the bases loaded and a three-run lead and struck out Darin Ruf to end the inning. Belisario has stranded 14 of his last 15 inherited runners.
In his last eight starts Greinke has allowed nine total runs, with a 1.45 ERA and 5-1 record in 56 innings. The Dodgers have won his last four starts and 10 of his last 11.
Dodgers' starting pitchers have a 1.84 ERA in their last 20 games. With 15 team shutouts, the Dodgers matched the Indians for the major league lead.
The Dodgers got all the offense they needed in the fourth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez singled with one out and was followed by a home run well into the left field seats for a 2-0 lead. It was the second home run this season for Ramirez against Cliff Lee, against whom he is 8-for-16 (.500) in his career with three home runs, three doubles and eight runs batted in.
Lee retired 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced, including nine straight, but the string was broken with a two-out walk to A.J. Ellis in the seventh inning. The Dodgers immediately cashed that in when the other half of the law firm, Mark Ellis, followed with a sinking line drive that got past a diving Brown in left field for a gift RBI double and a 3-0 lead.
Ramirez was at it again in the ninth inning with a broken-bat infield single to open the frame. He then stole second, awkward slide and all, and advanced to third when the throw made it into the outfield. Ramirez scored on a single by Scott Van Slyke, who cashed in the opportunity after getting recalled from Triple-A before the game.
Thanks to wins Tuesday, Friday and on July 2, this was the tweet of the night, from Andy Kleinman:
@truebluela if Dodgers beat Cliff Lee, they will have beat Lee, Harvey and Oswalt.— Andy Kleinman (@atk825) August 17, 2013
On Saturday evening the Dodgers go for their first 10-game winning streak since winning 11 straight in 2006, and will do so with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound. The Phillies counter with Kyle Kendrick, who suffered the loss at Dodger Stadium on June 30.
Home run: Hanley Ramirez (12)
WP - Zack Greinke (11-3): 7⅓ IP, 3 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Cliff Lee (10-6): 8 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts