The Los Angeles Dodgers’ offensive struggles to end the first half are long forgotten.
An undefeated trip will do that.
The NL West-leading Dodgers open their second-half home schedule Thursday night when Zack Greinke tries to deliver Los Angeles its first seven-game winning streak in three years and No. 100 for his career in this opener against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Dodgers (53-47) plated two total runs against Colorado in their last three games before the All-Star break, finishing the first half 2 1/2 games off the West lead. Los Angeles, though, has moved 1 1/2 in front of second-place Arizona after capping off a 6-0 trip with Wednesday’s 8-3, 10-inning victory over Toronto.
The Dodgers, winners of 23 of 28 since they were last in the West on June 21, tied it in the ninth and blew it open in the 10th with homers from Mark Ellis and Yasiel Puig. They’ve won 10 straight on the road for the first time since opening 11-0 in 1955, when they were based in Brooklyn.
“Lately we’ve been able to (come back),” Ellis said after the Dodgers’ second comeback win in as many nights. “That’s the sign of a good team.”
Los Angeles, which hit .326 and averaged 7.8 runs on its trip, last won seven straight during a nine-game run May 9-18, 2010.
Greinke (8-2, 3.36 ERA) won five consecutive starts before the Dodgers’ 3-1, 10-inning victory at Washington on Saturday. The right-hander wiggled out of some rough spots – he retired the side in order just once – but he lasted six innings and allowed one run.
“Got into some jams and made some good pitches,” the former AL Cy Young Award winner, 2-0 with an 0.41 ERA in his last three starts, told the Dodgers’ official website. “That was a problem, getting in trouble early, but I got through it, so that was nice.”
Greinke is 6-0 with a 2.09 ERA in eight career starts at Dodger Stadium, including a 5-0 mark with a 2.17 ERA this season, his first with the club.
He’s 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in six starts against the Reds after beating them twice last season while with Milwaukee.
Cincinnati (58-44), though, arrives in Los Angeles after hitting .350 and scoring 31 runs while taking three of four at San Francisco.
Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco each had eight hits in the series while combining for 13 RBIs. Frazier extended his hitting streak to seven in Wednesday’s 8-3 victory, while Mesoraco drove in a pair.
The Reds continue their West Coast trip with Mat Latos (9-3, 3.53) on the hill.
The right-hander dealt with a 1-hour, 17-minute rain delay in the middle of the first inning Saturday against Pittsburgh, but wound up a 5-4 winner after yielding three runs and four hits – two homers – over five innings.
“It’s not something I’ve had to do,” Latos told the Reds’ official website of the delay. “There’s a first time for everything.”
A win at Dodger Stadium would be a first for Latos, who has a 3.95 ERA there while losing all five starts.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who’s batting .357 with two homers in a seven-game hitting streak at Dodger Stadium, has three homers in 16 at-bats off Greinke.
Puig, who hit his first homer in 17 games Wednesday, will get his first look at Latos. The star rookie is batting .458 at home.
Los Angeles won four of six from Cincinnati last season, including two of three at home.