MILWAUKEE -- Getting to Zack Greinke is no easy task and nobody knows that more than the Milwaukee Brewers, who watched the right-hander dominate his opposition during a season and a half with the Brewers.
So that they were able to turn the tables on their former teammate, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, made their 5-2 victory Tuesday all the more meaningful.
"He was amped up," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I'm sure he was amped up trying to do the same thing to us as we were trying to do to him."
Greinke came into the game with a perfect 15-0 record and a 2.89 ERA in 24 career appearances (23 starts) at Miller Park, where he was appearing for the first time since being sent to the Angels last July.
In his second start since fracturing his clavicle in an on-field fight with Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres, Greinke struggled with his command, giving up five hits and three walks in four-plus innings.
"Everything was bad today, not just my command," said Greinke, who took a loss for the first time this season. "Just no feel out there, no adjustments to be made. Started out bad. I got out of some jams early but never really got better."
After minimizing the damage through four innings, Greinke struggled in the fifth.
Jean Segura led off the fifth inning with a triple and scored on Ryan Braun's base hit, tying the score. Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy singled to load the bases, setting the stage for Gomez, who sent Zack Greinke's first offering over Carl Crawford's head, bouncing over the wall in left, giving Milwaukee a three-run lead.
"I just wasn't pitching good at the beginning and they started swinging better," Greinke said. "I didn't have anything to keep them off balance and wasn't locating great. They got aggressive the last inning and hit some balls well."
Lucroy's base hit was one of a career-high three on the day for the Milwaukee catcher, who came into the game hitting .208 and had just two hits in his previous 23 at-bats.
"From what I saw from him, I think he was trying to do too much," Lucroy said of his former battery mate. "Which is understandable coming back to a place where you had a lot of success, you play relaxed. Coming here as a member of the opposing team is a different experience. He made a lot of mistakes and we took advantage of them."
With the lead in hand, Milwaukee relied on its bullpen to cover for starter Hiram Burgos' short outing. The right-hander gave up two runs on six hits and four walks, lasting just 3 1/3 innings.
"His command was off," Roenicke said. "That's why he got in trouble. But then he made some good pitches to get out of it."
Mike Fiers took over and got the Brewers through the fifth, earning his first victory of the season. He was the first of five Milwaukee relievers who combined to work 5 2/3 scoreless innings, extending the bullpen's streak to 20, and Jim Henderson struck out three in the ninth to pick up his ninth save in as many opportunities.
"They're getting ahead of people," Roenicke said. "(Michael) Gonzalez is coming around real well. Velocity has picked up. Slider is outstanding. Henderson has been real consistent. (John Axford) has his stuff back. 97 to 98, good breaking ball. His stuff was really live today."
The Dodgers, mired in the NL West cellar, had plenty of opportunities early but couldn't cash in, stranding 10 runners through the first five innings.
"That's really kind of been the story as far as our offense has been concerned," said Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly. "We had the right people up in the right spots. We had our chances. We just weren't able to do it."
Skip Schumaker and Greinke were the only Dodgers to finish with two hits; Greinke also added an RBI in the fourth.
NOTES: Five of the National League's top 10 hitters played in the game, including Brewers SS Jean Segura, who went 1-for-4 and is tied for the league's best batting average (.353) with Cincinnati's Joey Votto. ... Dodgers CF Matt Kemp, a native of Oklahoma City, has pledged $1,000 to disaster relief efforts for every home run he hits this season, beginning with his solo shot against Milwaukee on Monday night. ... Injured Milwaukee LHPs Tom Gorzelanny and Chris Narveson worked out before the game. Gorzelanny threw a 20-pitch simulated game and could return to the roster on Friday. Narveson threw in the bullpen and is expected to face live hitters this weekend and possibly begin a rehab assignment early next week.