ST. LOUIS -- Zack Greinke paused when asked if Sunday's eight-inning masterpiece in the D-backs' 7-2 win over the Cardinals was his best outing of the season.
"Last game was good," Greinke said of his outing last week against the Yankees. "Today and the San Fran game [on April 20] are the three best. San Fran, I thought I pitched really, really good. It's going to be tough to do much better than that one."
Maybe so, but Greinke had to come close on Sunday as he held the dangerous Cardinals offense in check. The right-hander allowed five hits and fanned seven with the lone run St. Louis scored off him coming on Brandon Moss' fourth-inning homer.
"He was moving the ball around," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "I know he had good sink on his ball. I think the one pitch to Moss that he hit out, he was trying to go in, and it just ran back across the plate. But other than that, his changeup was good and he threw a lot of breaking balls. He had more I think than his changeup."
Greinke also damaged the Cardinals with his bat, driving home a run in the third with a sacrifice fly and collecting his seventh hit of the year in the sixth to raise his batting average to .292.
After allowing seven runs in four innings on Opening Day, Greinke has steadily lowered his ERA from 15.75 to 4.59.
"Maybe little adjustments, but probably just pitching better in general," Greinke said of the difference. "Hopefully not being as predictable. Just mixing it up good and making better pitches."
What sort of adjustments has he made?
"Maybe at the very beginning, I wasn't throwing in enough and they were able to look away and get more comfortable," Greinke said. "Just kind of mixing a slider in to lefties a little more, so it's not just fastball/change."
Greinke is now 2-0 against the Cardinals in 2016 and has the most career wins (11) of any active big league pitcher against them.
That's all well and good, but wins are mostly out of the control of a starting pitcher. For instance, in Greinke's victory over the Cardinals earlier this year, he allowed seven runs, but the offense scored 12.
"I feel like I've done good sometimes and they've done good sometimes," Greinke said. "A lot of times [in] my good games, they hit the ball pretty good but sort of some breaks kind of happen. Today, they hit some balls pretty good, but it was a little bit too high, so we were able to run them down. Where if they squared the ball up a little bit better, I'm talking even the smallest amount, it could have changed the outcome a little bit. They were still taking good at-bats."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.