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DODGERS

Zack Greinke turns in another gem to lift the Dodgers over Miami, 4-1

Right-hander gives up one run over eight innings to win for the ninth time in his last 10 decisions. He ties with Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the club lead with 12 victories.

August 21, 2013|By Kevin Baxter

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MIAMI — Clayton Kershaw might win another Cy Young Award this season. And Hyun-Jin Ryu could be the National League rookie of the year.

But over the last seven weeks, neither has been the best pitcher on the Dodgers.

That honor goes to right-hander Zack Greinke, who held the Miami Marlins to one run over eight innings Wednesday in a 4-1 victory, winning for the ninth time in his last 10 decisions and dropping his earned-run average to a major league-best 1.41 since July 8.

BOX SCORE: Dodgers 4, Miami 1

"All the guys are good. And all the guys are different," Manager Don Mattingly said. "But Zack, we're getting to see more and more how good he is."

Good enough to match Kershaw and Ryu with 12 victories. Good enough to extend his winning streak to five games. And good enough to hold opponents to one run and a .190 batting average over his last three starts.

It's a streak that leaves Greinke, with seven starts remaining, with a chance to top his career high of 16 victories, a number first reached when he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

"That year was really nasty," said Greinke, who credited his success this season to "some breaks. And making quality pitches at the right time."

But after a moment of reflection, he added that "maybe I'm pitching better than I realize."

The credit for that goes to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, who smoothed out a mechanical flaw in Greinke's delivery, adding 3 mph to a fastball and giving him the best changeup of his career.

"He seemed like he got away from who he was a little bit," Honeycutt said. "It was really no more than just getting him back to where he's always been."

Greinke (12-3) said Honeycutt approached him about making some changes in spring training, but he was hesitant. After a June outing in Colorado, where he gave up nine hits and four runs in 51/3 innings, Greinke relented.

"Since then it's been lights out," Mattingly said. "He's been tough."

Greinke's only mistake Wednesday came in the first inning, when Giancarlo Stanton hit a laser just inside the left-field foul pole for his 16th home run. But Greinke got stronger as the game wore on, giving up only one hit after the fourth inning and pitching into the eighth for the second time on the trip.

The Dodgers were relatively quiet on offense as well, failing to get a hit in the first three innings against former teammate Nathan Eovaldi. But they turned two errors into three runs in the fourth inning, with Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier delivering run-scoring hits and an errant pickoff throw from Eovaldi allowing another run to score.

That proved to be more than enough for Greinke, who lowered his ERA to 2.91. That's the eighth-best mark in the league but only second-best on the Dodgers. Kershaw, the guy with the league's best ERA, will pitch Thursday and Honeycutt says the left-hander will be looking to one-up Greinke and take over the staff lead in victories.

"They wouldn't be where they're at without the competition nature," he said. "There is a sense of pride."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Twitter: @kbaxter11

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