PHOENIX – Kenta Maeda was rocked for seven runs over just three innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers fell 8-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday for their fifth straight defeat.
The Dodgers were swept for the first time this season and former teammate Zack Greinke was a big reason why.
That and a parade of Arizona hits against another suddenly struggling Dodgers starter.
Greinke earned his MLB-best 16th victory with six strong innings.
Chris Iannetta and A.J. Pollock homered for the Diamondbacks, who matched their season-best seventh straight victory and pulled 3½ games ahead of idle Colorado for the National League’s top wild card spot.
The Dodgers, still with by far the best record in the majors (91-40), have lost a season-worst five in a row.
“Teams are going out and looking to play their best baseball against us and the clip that we were on for a few months obviously we were in rare company,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “Did I foresee us losing five in a row? No. But I know we’ll turn it around.”
Greinke (16-6) allowed a run and four hits, striking out six and walking two, to improve to 13-1 in 16 home starts this season.
“It was just a great game,” he said. “Got a lot of runs. Amazing plays defensively. Couldn’t have got much better than that in that regard. . . . Played flawlessly this whole series.”
On the other hand, Maeda (12-6) had arguably his worst outing of the year. The right-hander yielded eight hits and season-high total in runs in his shortest start of 2017.
“A lot of mislocated pitches,” Maeda said through an interpreter, “and they took advantage of all of them.”
He added: “I made a lot of mistakes in this game. I went on the mound thinking I wanted to stop (the team’s losing skid) but I couldn’t do it and I’m disappointed.”
Maeda, who was 5-1 after the All-Star break going into Thursday’s game, had unusually poor pitching control, allowing Arizona cleanup hitter Paul Goldschmidt to hit a two-run double in the first inning.
He surrendered an RBI double to Gregor Blanco and a two-run shot to Chris Iannetta in the second, before A. J. Pollock hit a two-run home run in the next inning.
Blanco finished with three hits, two of them doubles, drove in a run and scored twice.
Arizona scored 21 runs in the three-game sweep and has won nine of 10.
Phillies 3, Marlins 2
In Miami, Giancarlo Stanton, MLB’s home run leader, flied out in the ninth with two on to punctuate an 0-for-5 night, and Philadelphia sent the Marlins below .500.
Stanton failed to get the ball out of the infield in three plate appearances against Ben Lively. Facing Phillies closer Hector Neris, Stanton squandered a chance to put the Marlins ahead.
Stanton hit 18 homers in August, tying Rudy York’s 1937 record for the month, and has 51 this season. But he’s 1-for-15 this week.
His young counterpart, Phillies rookie Rhys Hopkins, singled in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. That’s the longest streak by a Phillies player in the first month of his career since Hall of Famer Chuck Klein had a 13-game streak in 1928.
Miami pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki flied out in the sixth.
Yankees 6, Red Sox 2
In New York, CC Sabathia shut down Boston for the fourth time this year and the Yankees got homers from Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird on the way to a victory over their archrival in the opener of a pivotal four-game series.
Sabathia (11-5) permitted one run and four hits in six innings despite walking five Boston batters for the second time this year — equaling a season high.
Using a sharp slider, Sabathia struck out six. With timely help from his defense, he improved to 8-0 in 10 starts this year following a Yankees loss.
Blue Jays 11, Orioles 8
In Baltimore, Toronto slugger Kendrys Morales went deep three times and had a career-high seven RBIs to ignite the Blue Jays in a win over the hosts.
Morales hit a two-run homer in the third, an RBI single in a five-run fifth, added a three-run drive in the sixth and concluded his big night with a solo shot in the eighth.
Cubs 6, Braves 2
In Chicago, Kyle Hendricks turned in his fourth straight quality start and the Cubs ran their winning streak to four.
Brewers 6, Nationals 3
In Milwaukee, Zach Davies won his 16th game to tie Greinke for the most victories in the majors, Jonathan Villar homered and the Brewers doubled up Washington.
Davies (16-7) scattered six hits, walked two, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 1.77 over the last nine starts, five of them victories for himself and the team.
Astros 5, Rangers 1
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Jose Altuve homered, the Houston bullpen pitched 4⅓ scoreless innings and the Astros topped Texas in the last game before they return to their flood-ravaged home city.
Twins 5, White Sox 4
In Minneapolis, Max Kepler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Twins rallied to beat Chicago.
Reds 7, Mets 2
In Cincinnati, Joey Votto hit a home run, then gave a bat and jersey to a 6-year-old cancer patient as the Reds routed New York.
Cardinals 5, Giants 2
In San Francisco, Michael Wacha pitched six strong innings and Randal Grichuk belted a two-run homer as St. Louis prevailed over the Giants.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5