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Saturday, July 13, 2013
Zack Greinke finds his groove

By Mark Saxon


LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke had been pretty blunt when people asked him why he struggled at times in May and June: He wasn't throwing as hard as he typically does. That’s not surprising, considering he missed five weeks after fracturing his collarbone in a fight with Carlos Quentin.

Saturday may have been the day he got his good fastball back, and it helped him continue his hot pitching. He used a lively repertoire to attack hitters, breezing through nine innings and striking out nine batters in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 1-0 win over the Colorado Rockies.

It was a bit of a throwback game on the night the Dodgers aired the movie "42," about Jackie Robinson -- game time was 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Greinke struck out Dexter Fowler on a 95 mph tailing fastball to end the sixth inning. Earlier in the season, he was working with a 90 to 93 mph fastball.

He has pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings.

Unlike Clayton Kershaw, Greinke has been able to rely on steady run support as he won each of his previous four starts. When he left those games, the Dodgers had scored an average of 5½ runs for him.

On Saturday, he didn't have as much room to operate -- in fact, he had barely any -- but he maneuvered just fine. The Rockies didn't get a baserunner until Todd Helton's one-out single in the fifth inning. Nobody reached second until Josh Rutledge stole it in the eighth inning.

The Dodgers hitters didn't do much against Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood, a former Angel whose career appeared to be adrift until this season. Chatwood breezed through eight innings, with the Dodgers managing just four hits. They scored a run in the first inning after Skip Schumaker's leadoff double and a Hanley Ramirez RBI groundout.