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Dodgers keep it going on the road

Zack Greinke and three relievers combine for a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia, making it 41 wins in 49 games and an 8 1/2-game lead in the West.

August 16, 2013|By Kevin Baxter

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PHILADELPHIA — The opponents differ and the cities change.

But the results remain mind-numbingly consistent for the Dodgers, who opened their final East Coast trip of the season Friday with a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

By now the numbers are as familiar as they are freakish:

— 41 wins in 49 games, the best stretch by a major league club in seven decades.

— A 24-3 record since the All-Star break and a 14-1 mark in August

—18 wins in their last 19 road games. In fact the last time the Dodgers lost twice in the same city was June, when they were still last in the National League West.

They're in first place now, of course, by 8 1/2 games, which is the only number Manager Don Mattingly is really concerned with. After all, this is only the second-best streak he's been a part of.

"I played on a team in high school that won 59 straight games. So I want to win every day," he said. "And I think it's possible. Sometimes you can get caught up by saying, 'Oh, we're not supposed to be doing this. We play .500 on the road, that's good enough. That's a good trip.'

"Not necessarily."

Especially not if your pitchers are as good as the Dodgers' have been. When Zack Greinke scattered three hits over 7 1/3 shutout innings Friday it marked the 16th time in the last 20 games a Dodgers starter has given up two or fewer runs. The rotation is 14-1 with a 1.84 earned-run average over that span.

Yet in Greinke's mind, the relievers, three of whom combined to get the final five outs without yielding a hit Friday, have been even better.

"The bullpen has done the best job. It's been pretty incredible," he said. "It feels like they've got 200 straight scoreless innings."

Close. Dodgers relievers have given up only one run in their last eight games.

"We expect to win and we have been," said Greinke (11-3). "That's kind of how it's been. It hasn't crossed anyone's mind that we're going to lose."

Greinke's latest gem ruined the managerial debut of Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who took over on an interim basis Friday after the Phillies fired Charlie Manuel, the most successful manager in the team's 130-year history.

But Sandberg didn't get a chance to do much managing in his first game because the Phillies, who have lost 20 of 24, didn't get a runner to third until the eighth inning. By then the Dodgers had the game in hand, scoring the only runs they would need on Hanley Ramirez's two-run home run in the fourth off Cliff Lee (10-6).

They added a pair of runs anyway, getting one in the seventh when catcher A.J. Ellis raced home from first when left fielder Domonic Brown slipped trying to field Mark Ellis' two-out line drive and another in the ninth when Scott Van Slyke singled home Ramirez.

After which Mattingly set his sights on winning again Saturday. Because when he looks back on his time at Reitz Memorial High in Evansville, Ind., Mattingly doesn't remember the 59-game winning streak as much as he remembers the loss that ended it.

"I was on the hill," he said. "It sucked."

Twitter: @kbaxter11

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