(The Sports Xchange) - With center fielder Joc Pederson providing the expected and right-hander Zack Greinke contributing the unexpected the Los Angeles Dodgers maintained their distance from their closest divisional pursuer.
Pederson and Greinke hit successive solo home runs to give the Dodgers a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday in front of 47,388 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers retained their 2-1/2 game lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
Greinke (13-2) amassed eight strikeouts and yielded just one walk in his seven innings, while allowing one run on six hits in extending his personal winning streak to eight games.
“You’ve got to try to take advantage of opportunities,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “When Greinke’s throwing the ball well, you know there’s going to be limited opportunities.”
Despite performing in heat that reached 98 degrees F (36.67 Celsius) when he threw the first pitch, Greinke experienced no difficulty combining pitching with hitting.
“If you’re feeling good and have enough energy to spare, then you might focus on your hitting,” said Greinke.
“If it’s one of those games where you’re just grinding the whole time, you try to save your energy for pitching.”
Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton’s sacrifice fly brought left fielder Marlon Byrd home to give the Reds a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth.
Pederson and Greinke then hit their homers in the bottom of the fifth.
Pederson propelled a 94mph fastball from right-hander Anthony DeSclafani halfway up the center-field bleachers for his 23rd homer of the season.
Greinke then followed by hitting DeSclafani’s next pitch, another 94mph fastball, two rows into the center-field bleachers for his second homer of the season and sixth of his career.
DeSclafani (7-8) registered six strikeouts in his six innings but allowed two runs, six hits and two walks.
“He was terrific,” Price said.
”When he’s on the mound, it never feels like he’s in the middle of a crisis. In those high-leverage, high-pressure situations, he keeps coming after you.
“Under different circumstances, we’ve got a great chance to win the game.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury