PHOENIX (AP) — A.J. Pollock provided the power, Zack Greinke the pitching and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers — again.
Pollock hit three home runs and the Diamondbacks won 8-5 on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series between NL West rivals.
“This guy is swinging the bat really well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “When you make mistakes out over the plate at the belt, he is going to do damage. He has figured out how to pull the ball in the air and in this ballpark when you do that, good things happen. “
Greinke struck out a season-high 10 in six innings as Arizona topped Los Angeles for the 12th time in their last 13 regular-season meetings — six of seven this year. In the 2017 playoffs, however, the Dodgers cruised to a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks.
All three of Pollock’s drives were solo shots in the first three-homer game of his career. He connected off Ross Stripling in the second, Brock Stewart in the sixth and Josh Fields in the eighth to become the 12th Arizona player with a three-homer game.
Pollock had a two-homer game at Dodger Stadium on April 14.
In his last nine games, Pollock is batting .361 (13 for 36) with one triple, five home runs, 10 RBIs, four walks and 10 runs scored.
“There’s stretches throughout the year when you see the ball well and there’s stretches that you don’t,” he said. “I see the ball pretty well right now. I don’t know. Some days it just works.”
Pollock isn’t sure he ever hit three homers in a game at Notre Dame.
“Maybe Little League, high school? I’m not sure,” he said.
Nick Ahmed drove in two runs and fell a triple shy of the cycle for the first-place Diamondbacks, who have won each of their first nine series to start the season — the first National League team to do so since the 1907 Chicago Cubs.
The NL champion Dodgers, who found out earlier in the day that star shortstop Corey Seager is headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery, have lost three straight and six of seven to fall to 12-16, eight games behind Arizona. The Diamondbacks (20-8) have the best record in the National League and second-best in baseball behind Boston (21-7).
They opened a seven-game homestand that features the Dodgers and Houston, last year’s World Series teams.
Greinke (3-2) blanked his old team on one hit through five innings before allowing a pair of runs in the sixth. He gave up two runs on four hits and walked one and is 15-1 in his last 20 starts at Chase Field.
Greinke also singled in a run and doubled, his first two hits of the season.
Brad Boxberger pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in nine tries.
Rich Hill was supposed to come off the disabled list to make the start for the Dodgers but remained sidelined with an infected finger, so Striping got the spot start. Stripling (0-1) went four innings, allowing four runs and eight hits.
Roberts had issues with what he saw as the rather generous strike zone of plate umpire Jerry Layne.
“I did think that there were some calls, if you look back at the video, that was a little bit too liberal,” Roberts said. “When you pitch like Zack Greinke and you have his command, you are going to exploit that. He figured that out early that he was getting balls off the plate and as I looked back at the video, it was pretty clear. He continued to do that and flipped a whole lot of counts and that is a guy that doesn’t need a whole lot of help.”
Both teams had significant new injury problems to deal with on Monday.
Seager, the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year, will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. An MRI confirmed the need for the operation after Seager experienced pain and numbness following a pair of throws last weekend.
Seager has had soreness in his elbow since the middle of last season.
Meanwhile, Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained oblique, with no timetable for his return. An All-Star and 15-game winner last season, Ray left in the second inning of Sunday’s loss at Washington.
The Diamondbacks are now without two of their original five starters. Right-hander Taijuan Walker is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Diamondbacks: David Peralta left after being hit in the hand by a pitch from Tony Cingrani with the bases loaded in the seventh, but X-rays were negative.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.84 ERA) tries to get the Dodgers back on track while RHP Matt Koch (1-0, 1.93) makes his third start since taking Walker’s place in the rotation.
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