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Greinke, Dodgers all smiles after beating Pirates

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- One game into his attempt to justify the largest contract in history for a right-handed pitcher, Zack Greinke was all smiles.

His Dodger Stadium debut a rousing success, Greinke joked with reporters, looked comfortable and carefree and his prized right arm looked little worse for wear.

Playing the familiar Pittsburgh Pirates helped ease him in.

Playing the Pirates as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers helped more.

Greinke shined in his debut with the Dodgers as he shut down the Pirates for 6 1/3 innings in a 3-0 win on Friday night.

Greinke, who signed a six-year, $147-million contract as a free agent during the offseason, allowed two hits and struck out six as the Pirates never gained traction against a Los Angeles squad that has beaten them seven straight times at home.

"They had good at bats against me in my career," Greinke said of the Pirates, with whom he grew familiar as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. "Sometimes what happens is, third time through, they start to get more comfortable. They took me out before that could happen."

Greinke threw 56 of 92 pitches for strikes and dominated unlike the Dodgers' other offseason coup, South Korean pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu. Ryu allowed 10 hits and three runs, one earned, in a 3-0 loss to the visiting San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.

Greinke was nearly untouchable, surrendering just a second-inning single to Garrett Jones and a seventh-inning single to Andrew McCutchen before he was relieved by Paco Rodriguez.

"Fun game," Greinke said matter-of-factly. "Just trying to do the normal stuff. It ended up working."

Added McCutchen: "We've faced him before. He's been with the Brewers, been in our division. We know what he has, what he's capable of doing. He did what he had to do and then he got out of the game."

Greinke exited to a standing ovation with a 3-0 lead after the Dodgers staked him two crucial runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Matt Kemp broke a 0-for-12 slump to start the season with an RBI double off Pittsburgh starter Jonathan Sanchez that scored Mark Ellis.

Adrian Gonzalez followed with another RBI double to score Kemp. Sanchez was immediately pulled for reliever Jeanmar Gomez after allowing three runs and six hits in five innings with four strikeouts.

"Matt's been fine," Los Angeles coach Don Mattingly said. "The last game, I know he left some runners, but I thought he had good at-bats. Tonight, he hits the ball hard down third base line, and the guy makes a nice play. Seems like that's the way it goes. He'll get rolling. He's healthy, he's going to be fine."

Added Kemp: "For me I think every night is the night I'm going to get a hit. I got my first hit, I'm a happy man."

Until the back-to-back doubles, Los Angeles had not given Greinke much support aside from an Andre Ethier second inning solo home run.

Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen and Brandon League finished the game for the Dodgers not allowing a hit. League pitched a scoreless ninth and picked up the save.

Greinke was impressive against the top of the Pittsburgh lineup, striking out each of the Pirates first three batters once in the first five innings.

"We hit some balls hard, they made some good plays," McCutchen said. "We got some 3-1 counts, full counts, and we weren't able to key on it. Things weren't going our way in that aspect."

NOTES: Los Angeles won six of seven against Pittsburgh last season. ... The Dodgers' .724 winning percentage against Pittsburgh since 2001 is the best in the National League. ... Former Dodgers catcher Russell Martin made his first appearance at Dodger Stadium since signing with the New York Yankees in 2011 on Friday night. Martin was a two-time All-Star with Los Angeles (2007-08) and won the 2007 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards for the Dodgers. ... Greinke sports the third best winning percentage in the Majors since 2011 at .738 entering the game. Greinke has gone 19-2 at home since 2011 and ranks fifth in the Majors in strikeouts since 2008 with 1,007. ... Pittsburgh went just 31-41 on the road last season, with a 0-5 start to the season. ... Pittsburgh starters allowed just four runs in the first three games across 19.1 innings (1.86 ERA). ... Carl Crawford led the league in batting average at .556 entering the game but went 0-4. ... Friday marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Dodgers' old ballpark, Ebbett's Field. The Dodgers beat the Yankees 3-2 in an exhibition game on April 5, 1913.

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