LOS ANGELES -- In the span of two pitches, Joc Pederson and Zack Greinke turned the game around, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 victory over the Reds on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, closing out the extended four-game weekend series with three straight wins.
On another oppressively hot day at Dodger Stadium (game-time temperature was 98 degrees), runs were at a premium with both Greinke and Anthony DeSclafani at the top of their games.
So when the Reds scratched across a run in the top of the fifth inning, there was an uneasy feeling among the crowd at Dodger Stadium, or at least there would have been if it wasn't too hot to move even the slightest bit.
After Marlon Byrd opened the frame with a single to left field, catcher Tucker Barnhart lined a ball to short right field, where Yasiel Puig had a beat on it but came up on the wrong end of a do-or-die decision to dive, allowing the ball to get past him for a double, advancing Tucker to third base. One out later, a Billy Hamilton sacrifice fly brought home the run for a 1-0 Cincinnati advantage.
It snapped a streak of 13 straight scoreless innings by Greinke.
But with one out in the bottom of the inning, Joc Pederson launched a ball well into the pavilion in left center field to tie the score. On the very next pitch, Greinke hit a ball over the fence in straightaway center field for a 2-1 lead.
It was Greinke's second home run of the year, and his second home run in three starts in August, the first Dodgers pitcher to hit two home runs in a single month since Darren Dreifort in August 2000.
Dreifort's home runs came in the same game, on Aug. 8, 2000 against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. That was also the last year that a Dodgers pitcher had two home runs in the same season, with Dreifort hitting three and Chan Ho Park two.
On the mound, Greinke was his usual self, allowing just the one run in seven innings of work, with eight strikeouts and a walk. Greinke has allowed zero or one run 17 times in 24 starts this season. The last Dodgers pitcher with more such starts was Andy Messersmith, with 19 in 1975.
Greinke stranded runners in scoring position in the first and seventh, and in the seventh had two runners on with one out. But after a brief mound visit from manager Don Mattingly Greinke ended his day getting pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker and center fielder Billy Hamilton to end the threat.
"He had to work today," Mattingly said. "It wasn't one of those cruisers."
For his efforts, Greinke's ERA lowered from 1.5916 to 1.5786.
Since joining the Dodgers, Zack Greinke has a 2.04 ERA in 43 starts at Dodger Stadium.
Greinke has allowed one run over his last two starts, after allowing (gasp!) 10 runs over his previous three starts, a stretch that was his worst of the year.
"Today felt good, and maybe the last game too. But this past month I was struggling a little bit, to be as good as I was earlier in the year," Greinke said. "I'm happy to be back pitching like I was."
The last Dodgers pitcher whose home run was the deciding run in a one-run win was Odalis Perez, who produced the only run in a 1-0 win over Arizona on Aug. 28, 2002.
In the eighth inning, Pedro Baez got the first two outs, then lefty reliever J.P. Howell walked Joey Votto in a six-pitch battle. That brought in Kenley Jansen, fresh off the birth of his son on Sunday morning.
Jansen struck out Todd Frazier on six pitches to end the eighth, then pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 24th save. It was the first save and appearance longer than one inning for Jansen since Aug. 14, 2014.
Home runs: Joc Pederson (23), Zack Greinke (2)
WP - Zack Greinke (13-2): 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
LP - Anthony DeSclafani (7-8): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (24): 1⅓ IP, 2 strikeouts