LOS ANGELES (AP) — Zack Greinke had been badgering manager Don Mattingly for a month to let him pitch deeper into games.
Mattingly finally obliged, even getting booed by Los Angeles Dodgers fans when he made a mound visit to Greinke late in the game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.
"Then I don't do the job," Greinke said after coming within one strike of his fifth career shutout in the Dodgers' 6-2 victory that ended their two-game skid.
Greinke got the first two outs of the ninth before running into trouble. Anthony Rizzo doubled and then Greinke hit Nate Schierholtz. Greinke had a 3-2 count on Brian Bogusevic before he doubled to deep left to score Chicago's two runs.
"It was frustrating," Greinke said. "I made some good pitches. Rizzo had a nice hit. The pitch to Schierholtz was pretty close to where you want to throw it and it hit him. I'm more frustrated I couldn't get him (Bogusevic) out. Did everything you could but just didn't happen."
Brian Wilson came in to strike out Donnie Murphy for the final out.
"I knew he really wanted to stay in the game," Mattingly said of Greinke. "I'm a little torn with it, honestly. I wanted to keep him at 115 (pitches, Greinke threw 122), but he's earned the right to go for it."
Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig homered to help the Dodgers beat the Cubs for the eighth straight time, including a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field earlier this month. The Dodgers tied their longest streak over Chicago in franchise history, set from June 9, 1974-May 19, 1975.
Greinke (13-3) allowed two runs and five hits in 8 2-3 innings. He tied his season high with nine strikeouts and walked two while improving to 5-0 this month with a 1.23 ERA in five starts. The right-hander has won 10 of 11 decisions, going 10-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 13 starts since June 22.
He didn't allow a runner to reach second base until the eighth.
"Zack throwing zeroes early gives us a chance to shake out the cobwebs from the last series," Mattingly said, referring to the Dodgers dropping two of three against Boston.
Greinke helped himself offensively, too, with a two-out hit in the fourth that scored the Dodgers' first run.
"Pitching is like the business and hitting is more the fun part," he said.
After giving up a single to Starlin Castro to open the game, Greinke retired the next 13 batters before Murphy singled in the fifth.
Greinke issued consecutive one-out walks to Murphy and Welington Castillo in the eighth before Darwin Barney grounded into a fielder's choice to third. Murphy advanced to third and Castillo was out at second.