Yasiel Puig provided all the offense and Cy Yong candidate Zack Greinke did the rest as the Los Angeles Dodgers righted the ship, snapping their first four-game losing streak of the season with a 5-0 shutout victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night at Chavez Ravine.
Greinke returned to form after allowing six earned runs in his last start on Thursday in Philadelphia. The 2009 Cy Young Award winner bounced back scattering six hits over six scoreless innings with strikeouts.
"I tried to make sure that if a couple guys got on early not to lose control," Greinke said of the difference between tonight and his last start. "Otherwise, it was the same game plan as always."
Greinke (12-2) has won his last seven starts and lowered his MLB-best ERA to 1.65. Greinke is 7-0 with a 1.56 ERA in eight starts since June 28th, and is 24-6 following a Dodgers loss since 2013.
"We've been playing really well whenever I pitch," Greinke said proudly. "It's good, but I won't put any extra pressure on myself in those situations."
Yasiel Puig was a one-man wrecking crew for Los Angeles. The Cuban slugger known affectionately as "The Wild Horse," did a lot of trotting around the bases on Tuesday.
Puig drove in all five runs for LA with a two-run homer in the fourth and a bases-clearing triple in the fifth. Puig's five RBIs tied his career high mark set on June 4th, 2013 against the San Diego Padres. Puig went 3-for-4 with 2 home runs in that game, just the second of his Major League career.
"I don't remember the last time I had five RBIs," Puig said when asked if he recalled that day in 2013. "I don't even remember the last time I had two hits in the same game."
Nationals' rookie Joe Ross was stellar through three innings, but struggled in the fourth when he gave up a leadoff triple to Andre Ethier.
Ethier found the gap in left-center, and took off for third when he saw the ball careen off the wall and past centerfielder Michael Taylor. Taylor's throw to third beat Ethier, and he was originally called out by umpire CB Bucknor.
"I knew his arm was good, but I didn't know it was that good," Ethier laughed. "You live and learn, and that's one of those times I learned that he has a pretty good arm."
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However, after a nearly two-minute replay review by Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly, the umpires reversed the call and Ethier was safe at third.
"I felt like I got underneath it," Ethier said. "The ball took a high hop and he tagged me high. We got away with one and got some momentum going."
Two batters later, Puig, silenced the critics when he sent a ball into orbit that might still be soaring through the Los Angeles night sky. Puig sent an 84 MPH slider by Ross halfway up the pavilion in left-center for his ninth homer of the season.
The long ball was Ross' first extra base hit against a right handed batter all season, and helpedPuig break out of an August slump which he was batting just .148 with one home run for the Boys in Blue.
"I've been having trouble connecting lately," Puig said. "I haven’t been picking good pitches, but I've been working on picking better pitches, and hopefully I'll be able to connect better."
Puig knocked in three runs (and Ross out of the game) with a triple past the diving Clint Robinson in right field in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ross was hit with the loss in his shortest start of the season after allowing five runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. The 22-year-old Northern California native walked four batters, the most free passes he's issued all season. Entering the game, Ross had issued just four walks in 45 innings to start his career.
The Dodgers welcome backed reliever Yimi Garcia on Tuesday. The right hander was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game and was immediately thrown into the fire throwing two scoreless innings of relief in the seventh and eighth.
Luis Avilan shut the door on the Nationals by striking out Michael Taylor to end the game as the Dodgers picked up their Major League-leading 16th shutout of the season.
Justin Turner was spotted in the Dodgers dugout in the late innings of the game. Turner had been rehabbing at Camelback Ranch in Arizona after he suffered an infection from an ingrown hair two weeks ago.
Ryan Zimmerman's RBI streak was snapped at eight games. Zimmerman's streak was the second longest streak with an RBI in every game in Nationals history.
Home teams across the Majors went 15-0 on Tuesday, the first time in the history of the sport that all home teams went undefeated on a single day.