DENVER – Zack Greinke challenged baseball’s hottest hitter. The Los Angeles right-hander won the battle with Troy Tulowitzki and the Dodgers went on to win the game.
Greinke pitched eight solid innings, Juan Uribe hit the go-ahead single in the ninth inning and Los Angeles beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 Thursday night.
Uribe finished with three of the Dodgers’ six hits. Los Angeles moved into first place in the NL West, a half-game ahead of San Francisco, which lost to St. Louis on Thursday.
“It feels good where we’re at, and it’s where we want to be,” manager Don Mattingly said.
Greinke (11-4) got the win despite giving up the lead in the eighth inning. His teammates rallied in the ninth off reliever LaTroy Hawkins to help Greinke tie for the major league lead in victories.
“Anytime you can give up two runs at this park is special,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said.
Kenley Jansen worked the bottom of the inning to get his NL best 26th save in 29 chances.
Justin Morneau and DJ LeMahieu had two hits apiece for Colorado, which has lost four straight and 15 of 17 to move within a half-game of last place in the NL West.
It looked like Greinke might go the distance. He needed just 82 pitches through seven innings with Los Angeles leading 2-1.
But the Rockies rallied in the eighth. Charlie Blackmon led off with a single and one out later Morneau tripled to right-center to tie the game 2-2. Tulowitzki, who entered the game hitting a major league-best .351, came to the plate with a chance to put Colorado ahead.
Mattingly came out to talk strategy, and walking Tulowitzki wasn’t considered.
“We wanted to get after him,” Mattingly said. “Not to give in, pitch him tough.”
Greinke started with a 150 kph fastball for a strike, and after Tulowitzki looked at two balls he popped out to shallow left field.
“It wasn’t really the plan. I was trying to get a soft grounder,” Greinke said. “It worked, but it wasn’t how we drew it up.”
After an intentional walk to Corey Dickerson, Greinke struck out Nolan Arenado with a high fastball.
“It was a total ball. I got a little overly anxious,” Arenado said. “I knew he was coming around middle-in and I just over swung a little bit. Bad pitch to swing at.”
Greinke went eight innings for just the second time this season. He allowed two runs — one earned — on nine hits, struck out eight and walked just two. It was the 37th straight game a Dodgers starter has walked two or fewer. Cardinals 7, Giants 2
In San Francisco, Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer, Carlos Martinez earned his second win as a starter, and St. Louis beat the reeling Giants.
Martinez (2-3) also drove in a run for the Cardinals, who won their second straight after losing three in a row. Martinez allowed a run and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Madison Bumgarner (9-6) fell to 0-3 over his past four home starts after allowing five runs — four earned — and six hits over five innings.
Bumgarner also drove in a run for San Francisco, which has lost 17 of 22 and fallen out of first place in the NL West. Diamondbacks 10, Pirates 2
In Pittsburgh, David Peralta had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs to help Arizona avoid a series sweep.
The Pirates are 0-for-8 in chances to sweep opposing teams this season. They looked primed to get their first sweep as starter Vance Worley retired the first 12 batters he faced and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Phillies 5, Marlins 4
In Miami, Ben Revere scored the go-ahead run when Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano bobbled a grounder in the ninth, and Philadelphia rallied to snap a six-game losing streak.
Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the ninth with a walk and eventually scored the tying run against Miami closer Steve Cishek (4-4). Revere scored easily when Chase Utley hit a grounder and Solano could only get the out at first.