The winning streak away from home reached 15 on Monday night, and Zack Greinke made sure to leave his mark on both ends of the field.
Greinke's RBI single in the seventh proved to be the game-winning run, as the Dodgers downed the Cardinals, 3-2. They did so while Hanley Ramirez sat with a sore shoulder, and with Kenley Jansen getting the night off for rest.
All in all, it was another complete team effort that put the Dodgers in the win column, and now they find themselves up by six games in the NL West. Incredible.
The Cardinals just came off of putting up a 15-spot against the Reds on Sunday, so Greinke knew he'd have his hands full. He gave up a run in the first, as Matt Carpenter doubled leading off, then went to third when Yasiel Puig couldn't get the ball cleanly. A groundout by Carlos Beltran scored him for the 1-0 lead.
Despite getting the run home there, the Cardinals often looked like the Cubs in failing to cash in with runners on. They were only 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and left the bases loaded in the third when David Freese grounded into a forceout to Mark Ellis in the second.
The Dodgers took the lead in the fourth. Adrian Gonzalez took a walk leading off against the Cardinals' ace, Adam Wainwright. Puig doubled to deep right center to put runners in scoring position. Andre Ethier stepped up with an RBI single to right, and A.J. Ellis hustled to beat out a double play, allowing Puig to score for the 2-1 advantage.
The Cardinals failed to score in the fourth and fifth, though they had plenty of chances. They left two runners in scoring position in the fourth when Carpenter struck out. The following inning, Freese doubled past Puig in right. Allen Craig tried scoring from first, but Puig made the relay throw to Mark Ellis at second, who fired home on a perfect bounce to the other Ellis for the tag. It was a picture perfect defensive play.
A two-out double by Nick Punto in the seventh left Don Mattingly with a decision to make. Should he pinch-hit for Greinke, or let it ride? Considering Greinke knows how to handle the bat, and they had the lead anyway, Mattingly let his pitcher hit. It paid off, as an RBI single to right made it 3-1.
The bottom half didn't go so hot for Greinke, as a walk to Adron Chambers, a single by Carpenter, and a sacrifice bunt by Beltran put runners on second and third. That was it for Greinke, as Ronald Belisario entered and held the Cardinals to only a run on a groundout by Craig.
Spotted a mere one-run lead and with their dominant closer unavailable, the Dodgers knew the last six outs would be tough. It was made even tougher when Belisario beaned Freese leading off the eighth.
That was all she wrote for Belisario, as Paco Rodriguez came on proceeded to pitch two flawless innings for his second save. Carpenter flew out to Ethier in center to end the game.
The Dodgers knew they'd be in for a hard week, as they have the Cardinals for four, followed by the Rays for three. With Ramirez out for an unknown amount of time, about the only way they'd stand a chance to win this one is if Greinke took over. He sure did, tossing 6 1/3 innings for eight hits, two runs, one walk, and four strikeouts. The win gets him up to 9-3 with a 3.40 ERA.
What's even better? He's now hitting .406! Much like his fellow ace Clayton Kershaw, he's no slouch at the plate, and has shown an ability to get hits to back himself up. I suppose this means he's a much better athlete than he's given credit for.
Speaking of Kershaw, he'll look to extend this incredible road winning streak by taking the hill on Tuesday. The Dodgers will look to move into a tie with the 1912 Senators for third all-time with another win. Joe Kelly goes for the Cardinals.