While the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to find ways to win, the Tampa Bay Rays have struggled holding on to leads of late.
With Zack Greinke looking to continue his home success, the Dodgers can record a fourth consecutive victory by handing the Rays their fourth straight defeat Saturday.
Los Angeles (65-50) has won 35 of 43, but perhaps none more remarkable during that stretch than Friday’s 7-6 comeback victory over Tampa Bay. The Dodgers erased a 6-0 deficit when Adrian Gonzalez scored from second on Fernando Rodney’s throwing error to cap a four-run ninth.
“It’s the best win so far,” said Skip Schumaker, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Mark Ellis had three hits, star rookie Yasiel Puig added two and each drove in a run as the Dodgers scored all their runs over the final three innings to win for the 13th time in 18 home contests.
“We’re always talking about giving ourselves a chance to win,” outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. said.
Losers in five of seven, the AL wild card-leading Rays (66-48) imploded two nights after they gave up a one-run lead when Arizona scored twice in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 9-8 defeat.
Two games behind Boston in the East, Tampa Bay dropped a season-high four in a row April 13-16.
“They’re an extremely hot team right now, and we just weren’t able to hold them down long enough,” said Tampa Bay ace David Price, who allowed a run in seven innings. “But we’re not going to harp on this loss.”
Puig made two ill-advised throws from center field and lost a ball in the lights, but he is 14 for 29 this month. He’s hit .418 with 16 RBIs in 27 games at Chavez Ravine.
Greinke (9-3, 3.40 ERA), 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA in nine home starts, improved to 6-1 with a 2.74 ERA in his last nine overall after he allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 win at St. Louis on Monday.
“(Monday) on the mound, (Greinke) was just constantly pounding the zone, mixing all his pitches,” catcher A.J. Ellis told the Dodgers’ official website.
The right-hander, however, is 2-6 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 career starts versus a Tampa Bay team that’s won two in a row against him.
Ex-Dodger James Loney had three hits Friday with two RBIs in the place he called home the previous six-plus seasons.
“I’m just taking it all in,” he told the Dodgers’ official website. “I’m happy to be playing back here.”
Loney is batting a major league-best .366 with 34 RBIs on the road the this season. He’s 2 for 8 with a homer against Greinke.
Rookie teammate Wil Myers has batted .438 during a 12-game road hitting streak.
Scheduled Tampa Bay starter Roberto Hernandez (6-11, 4.75) allowed two runs while recording his first complete game in three seasons during a 5-2 victory over Arizona on July 30, but gave up three and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 4-3 win over San Francisco on Sunday.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” he said. “I tried to keep the ball down, but it didn’t move a lot.”
Despite his last outing, Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four interleague starts this season. He has never faced the Dodgers.