Major League Baseball

Cy Young winners highlight Dodgers’ opener at D-backs

mlb6DODGERS (54-25) AT DIAMONDBACKS (39-40)
9:40 p.m. ET; FS-A, SNLA, MLB.TV

Cy Young Award winners and former teammates Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will meet for the second time when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers open a three-game series Monday in Phoenix.

Kershaw went 8 1/3 innings in a 7-1 victory over Greinke at Dodger Stadium on April 14, 2017. Greinke left the Dodgers to sign a six-year, $206.5 million free agent contract with the Diamondbacks in the winter of 2015.

The two remain at the top of their games. Kershaw (7-1, 2.85 ERA) is sixth in the National League in ERA and fifth in WHIP (1.05). Greinke (8-3, 2.91) is seventh in ERA and third in WHIP (0.93).

The Dodgers have won nine of 11 while building a 13-game lead over Colorado in the NL West, their largest lead of the season and the largest in the majors. They are a season-high 29 games over .500.

They used an historic formula to sweep a weekend series against the Rockies, taking all three games on walk-off homers by rookies Matt Beaty, Alex Verdugo and Will Smith. Smith’s homer was good for a 6-3 victory Sunday and marked the first time in major league history that rookies have hit walk-off homers in three consecutive games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

The Dodgers have outscored their opponents 58-32 in the last 11 games. Cody Bellinger, who has tied his 2018 season total with 25 homers, has a .409 batting average with two home runs in 22 at-bates vs. Greinke.

Arizona broke a season-high six-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over San Francisco on Tim Locastro‘s walk-off single in the 10th inning Sunday. The Diamondbacks were in danger of falling three games below .500 for the second time this season.

The Diamondbacks have been outscored 55-26 in the last seven games and are 15-21 at home. Only Miami (13-25) has a worse home record in the NL.

Locastro’s walk-off single provided a spark for a team that was 10-for-53 with runners in scoring position while losing the first five games of the homestand. They were 3-for-6 in such situations on Sunday, with Locastro delivering twice.

“What I see sometimes with men in scoring position is we come out of our routine,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

“Pitchers, what they do with men in scoring position is no mystery. They start throwing two-strike pitches on oh-oh (counts). There is a different method to it. It’s that game within a game. The players are aware. You just have to be patient early in the counts.”

Kershaw is 16-9 with a 2.59 ERA in 31 games against Arizona but is less successful at Chase Field, where he is 6-8 with a 3.70 ERA in 15 starts.

Greinke is 7-6 with a 4.28 in 16 career starts against the Dodgers — 5-6 and 4.90 since joining the Diamondbacks. He will face the Dodgers for the first time since giving up seven runs and four homers in 3 2/3 innings of a 12-5 loss to Hyun-Jin Ryu in the season opener for both team March 28 in Dodger Stadium.

Arizona center fielder/second baseman Ketel Marte could return to the lineup Monday after missing the final two games of the San Francisco series with a groin injury. He was removed after hitting a single in the third inning Friday, his sixth straight multi-hit game.

–Field Level Media

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