A pair of aces squared off Tuesday night in Los Angeles as Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke and San Francisco Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner were pitted against one another. As expected, runs were at a premium with both starters meeting expectations.
Greinke was slightly better than his counterpart and because of that, the Dodgers were able to come away with a crucial 2-1 victory giving them a 5.5-game lead over the rival Giants in the National League West.
After coming up short and suffering a tough-luck loss, Bumgarner had high praise for Greinke, according to to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Madison Bumgarner on #Dodgers Zack Greinke: "He's having a special year, no doubt about that — the kind you don't see very often" 1.59 ERA
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 2, 2015
Doling out a compliment, particularly to a Dodger, is uncommon for Bumgarner. He took exception to Alex Guerrero getting frustrated after flying out and yelled in his direction, and benches cleared after Bumgarner hit Yasiel Puig with a pitch in 2014.
It’s hard not to praise Greinke though, who pitched 7.1 innings while allowing just one run and striking out five. On the season he is now 15-3 with a 1.59 ERA, 2.61 FIP and 0.85 WHIP in 27 starts. With the win Greinke improved to 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA over nine career starts against the Giants.
Bumgarner, who was the 2014 World Series MVP and essentially unhittable throughout last year’s postseason, is having a strong season as well. He threw seven innings on Tuesday, giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out eight. He’s 16-7 with a 2.96 ERA and has 200 strikeouts on the season; the loss snapped his streak of five consecutive wins.
The big blow against Bumgarner came off the bat of rookie Joc Pederson, who hit a solo home run to center in the seventh inning. Coming off a frustrating month of August, Pederson let out a yell as he raced around the bases. Though his emotional outburst didn’t draw a response out of Bumgarner.