Greinke work­ing well with Gran­dal

The pitcher blanks the Di­a­mond­backs over seven innings in an­other stel­lar out­ing.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

PHOENIX — Sighs of re­lief were ex­haled around the vis­it­ing club­house at Chase Field on Sun­day and not only be­cause the Dodgers sur­vived a ninth-in­ning melt­down by Chris Hatcher to claim their only victory in a three-game se­ries against the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs.

In the fifth in­ning of the 7-4 win, Yasiel Puig blasted his first home run of the sea­son. Later in the game, Joc Ped­er­son and Alex Guer­rero launched the first home runs of their ca­reers.

‘From the be­gin­ning, there haven’t been any rough patches at all.’

— Zack Greinke, Dodgers pitcher, on throw­ing to Yas­mani Gran­dal

“It’s nice to get that out of the way,” Ped­er­son said.

Whereas the home-run hit­ters viewed the game as the start of new stages of their sea­sons — or, in the cases of Ped­er­son and Guer­rero, their ca­reers — start­ing pitcher Zack Greinke saw it as a con­tin­u­a­tion of some­thing familiar and com­fort­able.

For the sec­ond time this sea­son, Greinke was caught by new­comer Yas­mani Gran­dal. And for the sec­ond time, Greinke was spec­tac­u­lar, this time blank­ing the Di­a­mond­backs over seven innings.

“From the be­gin­ning, there haven’t been any rough patches at all,” Greinke said. “It worked re­ally good to­day, but it’s al­most ex­pected.”

Greinke com­pared his work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Gran­dal to that with A.J. El­lis, who was the Dodgers’ pri­mary catcher for the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons.

“The same thing when I was throw­ing to A.J.,” Greinke said. “With Gran­dal, ev­ery time I’ve thrown to him, we’ve worked well to­gether.”

This wasn’t en­tirely ex­pected. When Gran­dal was ac­quired from the San Diego Padres in the off­sea­son, he was known as a catcher to whom pitch­ers didn’t like to throw.

“It’s kind of in­ter­est­ing be­cause of that,” Greinke said. “You’re pay­ing at­ten­tion to see what it’s go­ing to be like. But, like I said, it’s been great. There was a lit­tle bit of a ru­mor, but he hasn’t shown any­thing but pos­i­tives, not just to me. Ev­ery one of our pitch­ers has been im­pressed with him.”

Gran­dal was pleased to hear of Greinke’s early re­views.

“It kind of feels like I’m do­ing my job right,” Gran­dal said. “That’s what I want to do when you have a pitch­ing staff like the one we have. It def­i­nitely feels good to know the pitch­ers are be­hind you.”

Greinke was vir­tu­ally un­hit­table on this day, as he shut down the same Di­a­mond­backs team that scored six runs against Clay­ton Ker­shaw the pre­vi­ous night.

Greinke (1-0) gave up five hits and no walks. He struck out seven and low­ered his earned-run av­er­age to 0.69.

Greinke’s dom­i­nance pro­vided a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment for Puig, Ped­er­son and Guer­rero to have break­out games.

Puig was two for 17 with six strike­outs in the Dodgers’ first four games and was benched in the fifth.

In the first in­ning of the game Sun­day, Puig flied out. In the third, he walked. In the fifth, he sent an of­fer­ing from Di­a­mond­backs starter Josh Collmenter over the wall in left-cen­ter field.

Puig, who was one for five, wasn’t ready to de­clare his slump was over.

“I’m still try­ing to im­prove my swing,” he said in Span­ish. “We’ll see what hap­pens.”

Ped­er­son’s home run came an in­ning later. Like Puig, Ped­er­son en­tered the game in an of­fen­sive funk.

Ped­er­son fin­ished the day a triple short of the cy­cle, rais­ing his av­er­age from .176 to .286.

Of his solo home run in the sixth in­ning, Ped­er­son said, “It was a re­lief, you know?”

Guer­rero also was a triple short of the cy­cle, his home run com­ing in the ninth in­ning.

Guer­rero started at third base only be­cause Juan Uribe and Justin Turner were in­jured the pre­vi­ous day. The start was the Cuban util­ity man’s first in the ma­jor leagues, as he spent the ma­jor­ity of last sea­son at triple A.

He didn’t ap­pear in a game un­til Satur­day, when he re­placed Uribe at third base.

“It’s hard enough for play­ers who play ev­ery day,” he said. “It’s even harder when you barely play.”

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