Dodgers give Greinke little help, lot of praise

Mattingly likens righty's season to that of Kershaw's 2014 NL MVP, Cy Young campaign

Dodgers give Greinke little help, lot of praise

MIAMI -- Dodgers starter Zack Greinke received just two runs from his offense on Sunday. But that was two more than he got in his last two starts, and it was all he needed to log his first win since May 5.

Greinke was dominant in Los Angeles' 2-0 series-ending victory at Marlins Park, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out six, walking one and allowing four hits.

"I haven't been paying attention to it," Greinke said of his winless streak that lasted nine starts. "It was a good game today. We played some really good defense and had a lot of guys on base."

With his performance against the Marlins, Greinke (6-2, 1.58 ERA) has now logged 20 2/3 scoreless innings over his past three starts. During that stretch, he's surrendered 11 hits while striking out 19 and walking just three.

Going back five starts, the 31-year-old has allowed only three earned runs in 35 1/3 innings while striking out 34 and walking five batters. Additionally, in his past 11 starts, Greinke has allowed more than one run just twice.

"It's been phenomenal," said second baseman Howie Kendrick. "It's fun to get behind him and play some 'D' and then watch him work on the mound, because his defense on the mound ... I knew he could play some 'D,' but I've been pretty impressed. He's like a little shortstop up the middle.

"Today we got two runs and we were happy to be able to get Zack a win."

Greinke entered the contest with a Major League-leading 1.70 ERA, and he lowered it to 1.58. Afterward, manager Don Mattingly compared the righty's season thus far to that of Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw's 2014 National League MVP Award and Cy Young Award-winning campaign (21-3, 1.77 ERA).

"Every outing he's really, really good," Mattingly said. "Probably the reason Clayton's [season] ended up being totally historic is that everything we needed to happen did last year. If we needed three runs, we got three. If we needed two, we got two. So Zack just hasn't had that same thing, but he's pitched really, really well every time out."

Greinke's success in Dodger blue isn't new. He joined the club in 2013 and went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, before going 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA last season. However, he's never been this good -- and Mattingly, as a result, has noticed a difference.

"This year, it seems like he's been sharp from the very beginning," the manager said. "Last year and the year before, it seemed like it took him a little while to get into the flow of the season. This year it seemed like he was just sharper right away."

Greinke supported Mattingly's belief.

"I've always been able to throw four pitches for strikes," he said. "Sometimes they weren't as quality, whereas this year, three of them have been high quality and the curveball has been so-so at best. But three pitches have been really good."

Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.