Greinke shows improvement vs. Padres

Greinke shows improvement vs. Padres

SAN DIEGO -- There were times he seemed frustrated with himself and there were some breaks that didn't go his way, but for the most part Friday night was a step in the right direction for D-backs ace Zack Greinke.

The right-hander allowed a pair of runs over 7 1/3 innings as the D-backs won the opener of a three-game set with the Padres, 3-2, at Petco Park.

"He did a good job," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "He was down, up when he wanted to be, used all his pitches. So that's the Greinke we expect."

In his first two starts in an Arizona uniform, Greinke did not deliver the types of performances he expects of himself or ones the team hoped for when it signed him to a six-year, $206.5 million deal during the offseason.

Greinke allowed seven runs in four innings on Opening Day and then gave up four in six innings his second time out.

"It was pretty good," Greinke said of his performance. "Gave up a couple of runs but for the most part, threw a lot strikes, some quality pitches and ended up keeping the score pretty low."

Petco Park and the Padres has always been a good combination for Greinke, who came into the game with a career 1.56 ERA against the Padres and a 1.57 mark at Petco Park.

In the second inning, though, it looked like Greinke's good fortune might have run out as the Padres managed to score a pair of runs thanks to a pair of infield hits and one grounder that found its way through the hole at third.

"That's what it seemed like at the time," Greinke said. "But then the rest of the game every single ball that was hit was pretty much an out besides Wil Myers and [Derek] Norris."

Greinke allowed another run in the fourth and then retired 11 straight batters before Myers ended his night with a one-out double in the eighth.

"Zack was fantastic tonight especially after he got going in the third or fourth inning," closer Brad Ziegler said. "He just cruised for a while so that was fun to watch and hopefully it's the start of a whole lot more of that to come."

It won't get any easier for Greinke, though, next time out as he faces the Giants and Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

"All the pitches were working pretty good and hopefully keep building that," Greinke said. "I've got a really tough team next time. I know they've got a really good offense. They're tough."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.