WASHINGTON (AP) — Zack Greinke was on an impressive stat-geek run, one that had been unmatched for a century. It took an interminable rain delay for it to come to an end.
Greinke pitched only three innings Monday night before play was halted for 3 hours, 17 minutes, and he had long hit the showers by the time the game finally resumed. The two-run homer he allowed to Anthony Rendon in the first inning stood up for the Washington Nationals, who beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0.
The game ended Greinke's parade of 18 consecutive regular-season starts in which he pitched at least five innings while allowing two runs or fewer — the longest such streak in the majors since 1914.
"It's not really like it's an important streak; no one really cares about it anyway," Greinke said. "If it was like a consecutive win streak or something more important than that, it would mean a little more."
Greinke (5-1) also picked up his first loss of the season as the Dodgers mustered only eight hits and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
"We don't get off to a good start, they get a couple quick runs, and then obviously a three-hour delay in there and lose Zack," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "Really, we had chances, we just didn't do anything."
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman pitched four shutout innings before the game was halted, and five relievers threw an inning apiece after play resumed. In between, a narrow, cigar-shaped storm took its time soaking D.C. and not much else.
By the time Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, there were only a couple of hundred fans left in the ballpark, almost all of them congregated behind the two dugouts. A couple of times there was an ad hoc chant-off between the ones in red down the first base line and those in blue on the other side.
"You can hear every word at that point," Espinosa said. "It's like a back-field spring training game."
Aaron Barrett (2-0) got the win mainly because he happened to be Washington's first reliever when play resumed, and plate umpire John Tumpane became the MVP for calling strikes and getting the game done in a reasonable hurry once the tarp was removed. There were four strikeouts before the delay, 16 after it.
Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig sat out the marathon, still sore after crashing into an outfield wall in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-4 road loss to the Miami Marlins. Mattingly said Puig remained day-to-day and declined to say directly whether a concussion has been ruled out.
Nationals left fielder Nate McLouth had his own crash-into-wall injury in the eighth inning, when he made a sliding backhand catch of a foul ball. Both hands and both knees hit the wall hard, and his right hand was bleeding as he walked off the field.
Williams said McLouth wasn't seriously hurt. The cut didn't require stitches, although a banged-up knee will almost certainly be sore for a while.
NOTES: Greinke had been unbeaten in his previous 13 starts (9-0) vs. NL East teams. ... The Nationals plan to promote RHP Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse to start Tuesday's game. RHP Ryan Mattheus will be optioned to Syracuse. ... Clayton Kershaw (strained back) is scheduled to come off the disabled list Tuesday and start for the Dodgers. ... Kershaw is expected to take the roster spot held for a day by RHP Pedro Baez, who was recalled Monday from Double-A Chattanooga and made his major league debut in the eighth inning. RHP Stephen Fife, who started Sunday's game, was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. ... Mattingly said LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, who missed Sunday's start with a sore shoulder, did not need an MRI and would resume throwing Tuesday.
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