(The Sports Xchange) - Zack Greinke shined on Thursday, but not the way he normally does.
In fact, the National League Cy Young Award favorite had his worst start of the season on the mound.
But as he struggled with his pitching, he made up for it at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a home run and three runs scored to help the Los Angeles Dodgers outslug the Philadelphia Phillies 10-8.
“He can swing the bat, that’s for sure,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Greinke (11-2), who entered with a major league-best 1.41 ERA surrendered a season-high six runs, five of which came in the first inning.
However, the National League West-leading Dodgers (62-46) took care of the right-hander by countering with 15 hits and a surplus of support to improve to a season-best 16 games above .500.
“Today, I was really mad after that first inning, so more motivation to try and get some hits,” Greinke said.
“Usually, I just try to focus on pitching, but we were down by some runs, so I needed to put some good at-bats out there today.”
Los Angeles scored three runs in the first inning, that Philadelphia countered in the bottom with five runs before Greinke could get an out.
First baseman Ryan Howard knocked in two with a bases-loaded single before a three-run homer by right fielder Domonic Brown handed the Phillies a 5-3 advantage.
The scoring had started with a bunt single by second baseman Cesar Hernandez on which Greinke air-mailed a throw to first base that left him visibly frustrated.
“I know I was upset about it,” Greinke said. “I should have gotten over it quicker, but I should have made that play.”
As Greinke struggled, Los Angeles battered Philadelphia starter David Buchanan (2-6), scoring three more runs in the second on a homer by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Greinke then helped his cause in the third inning with a solo homer to left-center field that boosted the Dodgers’ lead to 7-5.
The right-hander gave back the run in the bottom of the third but found a groove the rest of the way to finish six innings with eight strikeouts.
“I always feel like you can’t lose in the first inning, you’ve got to just keep them there,” Greinke said.
“The game’s not over by any means no matter what, but if you keep letting them score, then the game’s over.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury