7/26/2014 2:18 A.M. ET
Greinke records rare four-strikeout inning
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- While Yasiel Puig was tripling his way into the record books Friday night, teammate Zack Greinke did something historic, too.
Greinke recorded a four-strikeout inning in the 8-1 win over the Giants, the second of his career and fifth recorded by a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. Greinke also struck out four batters in an inning with the Angels in 2012. He, Chuck Finley and A.J. Burnett are the only pitchers in MLB history with multiple four-strikeout innings.
Against the Giants, Greinke had 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, as he raised his record to 12-6 and moved into a four-way tie for the NL wins lead. Clayton Kershaw (11-2) will try to join the group on Saturday.
In the third inning of the series opener, Greinke struck out Hector Sanchez swinging, Tim Lincecum looking, then Hunter Pence swung and missed at a third strike in the dirt that got past catcher A.J. Ellis for a wild pitch as Pence safely reached first base.
Greinke then struck out Gregor Blanco on another pitch in the dirt, this time Ellis throwing out Blanco at first.
"This time I didn't even notice," said Greinke. "I still wasn't pitching as well as I wanted. The strikeout pitch on Hunter wasn't where I wanted it to go and I was wrapped up in that and making sure it's not a big inning."
The previous Los Angeles pitchers with four strikeouts in one inning -- Pete Richert (1962), Don Drysdale (1965), Darren Dreifort (2003) and Brad Penny (2006).
Greinke said the three-triple, five-run fifth inning that he started with a single was "pretty awesome. Hopefully, it happens a lot."
He said the big inning defused the normally rowdy crowd at AT&T Park.
Greinke said his location wasn't sharp the first few innings and he wasn't getting "enough power behind" his pitches.
He called the outfield deployed Friday night -- Puig in center, Matt Kemp in right and Carl Crawford in left -- the team's best defensively, with a disclaimer.
"If [Puig] stays focused, he has the skills to be the best defensive outfielder," he said. "Matt is a really good right fielder. Carl Crawford is good in left. If Puig stays focused, he's the best center fielder."
LA gets Puig, Hanley back; Wild Horse to CF
SAN FRANCISCO -- All-Star outfielder Yasiel Puig and shortstop Hanley Ramirez returned to the Dodgers' starting lineup for Friday night's series opener against the Giants after missing all three starts in Pittsburgh with hand injuries.
The pregame media focus was on Puig, who started for the first time this year in center field. Manager Don Mattingly, however, would not commit to the switch long-term.
"It could be a day. It could be a week. It could be forever," said Mattingly. "We don't know."
With Puig in center, Matt Kemp was back in right field, Carl Crawford back in left field and Andre Ethier back on the bench with Scott Van Slyke. Mattingly said it was Kemp's natural play in right during Puig's absence that sparked the switch.
Mattingly said he spoke to Puig about the need for communication among the outfielders. Earlier in the week, Mattingly said Puig's unbridled aggressiveness going into the gaps and charging shallow balls presents potential dangers to teammates.
"With this combination of players," said Mattingly, "this has a chance of being our best outfield."
Dodgers will use off-days to rest Haren
SAN FRANCISCO -- Struggling fifth starter Dan Haren will be skipped in the Dodgers' rotation next week, although manager Don Mattingly said it was decided before Haren's loss in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
"We were talking about it before the [All-Star] break, skipping Danny," said Mattingly. "We feel this is, in a sense, his All-Star break. We feel like we're giving him a breather we've given everybody else."
Skipping Haren became logical because of a scheduling quirk that had off-days sandwiched around the current three-game series with the Giants.
Haren has lost four consecutive starts, but Mattingly insisted the decision did not reflect a lack of confidence in the right-hander.
"In Pittsburgh, their leading winner has eight wins and Danny's got eight wins," he said. "Dan Haren has done a pretty good job. It's like we cut him up because he's not Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu. I take exception to people who want to throw him aside. At this pace, he'll win 14 or 15 games."
Haren won his first four decisions and had a 2.39 ERA through May 1. He has allowed runs in one of the first two innings 15 times in his last 16 starts. He leads the staff with 21 starts and is second with 122 1/3 innings pitched.
By skipping Haren, the Dodgers' rotation projects to have Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu pitch the first four games on next week's homestand.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.