Zack Greinke extends scoreless streak, lowers ERA to 1.39

Zack Greinke extends scoreless streak, lowers ERA to 1.39

Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke finished his spectacular first half Thursday night with eight shutout innings against the Phillies, heading into the All-Star break with an MLB-best 1.39 ERA and 35.2 consecutive scoreless innings.

Greinke (8-2) has been quietly masterful throughout the streak, never more so than his domination of the Phillies hitters Thursday.

The Phillies managed just one hit – a sliced single to left field by Ryan Howard in the second inning with the Dodgers shifted to the right side of the field. Greinke didn’t allow another baserunner, retiring 24 of 25 batters in his eight innings.

Eight of those outs came by strikeout, 12 by ground out – most of them weak ground outs.

During his streak, Greinke has allowed 16 hits, walked only three and struck out 31. With Thursday’s performance, his major-league leading ERA dropped to 1.39. Not since 1968 – known as the Year of the Pitcher and home to so much pitching dominance that the pitcher’s mound was lowered by five inches the next season – has a pitcher reached the All-Star break with an ERA below 1.40 with more than 100 innings (Greinke has thrown 123-1/3).

Coupled with Clayton Kershaw’s complete-game shutout Wednesday night, the Dodgers held the Phillies scoreless over the final 20 innings of their four-game series. Their only other hit Thursday was a two-out single by Ben Revere off Dodgers reliever Joel Peralta in the ninth inning.

Offensively, the Dodgers were led by Yasiel Puig who broke out of a 7-for-41 slump with a two-run double in the fourth inning and a two-run home run in the eighth. It was Puig’s first home run since June 10 and only his fourth in 151 at-bats this season.

Adrian Gonzalez also had a two-run home run in the win, his 17th of the season.