Ah, hope. It comes, it goes. For the Dodgers this season, mostly it goes.
But Saturday they got a fleeting glimpse of real hope, Zack Greinke returning to San Diego to show everyone why he earned that $147-million contract and the Dodgers collecting a pair of home runs to roll over the Padres 6-1 at Petco Park.
The last time Greinke was seen in San Diego, Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being hit with a pitch and broke Greinke's collarbone. That sent him to surgery and the disabled list, and after missing five weeks, he had not been the same pitcher since (2-2, 5.02 ERA).
Saturday he made like MacArthur, not just returning, but pretty much conquering the Padres. Greinke (4-2) put together one of his best overall starts of his season.
Greinke gave up only four hits and didn't surrender a run until the eighth. He went eight innings, walking one and striking out a season-high eight.
He even won his rematch with Quentin, holding him hitless in three at-bats with a pair of strikeouts.
Greinke had to be on his game early, because he was unexpectedly being matched by Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez, who, despite coming in with a 5.84 ERA on the season, had a no-hitter through five innings.
Which is not to say Volquez was winning. The Dominican’s biggest problem has been his control, and before his day would end, he would walk seven in 5 2/3 innings.
He walked the bases loaded in the fifth, but looked like he would get out of it when Skip Schumaker hit a double-play ball to second baseman Logan Forsythe. But with a head-first dive, first base umpire Marty Foster ruled Schumaker safe as a run scored. Replays showed that Schumaker’s right hand would have beaten the throw, but he was wide of the base.
The Dodgers broke the game open with four runs in the sixth, with some help from the Padres.
They did not need any assistance on the first run. Ex-Padre Adrian Gonzalez got the Dodgers’ first hit with a solo home run. It was his team-high ninth homer of the season.
Andre Ethier then walked and took third on a Mark Ellis single. After Ellis stole second, A.J. Ellis hit grounder to shortstop Pedro Ciriaco. He could not glove the ball, however, and it scooted into center for a two-run error.
When Volquez walked Greinke his day was done, but not the rally. Schumaker singled off reliever Brad Boxberger to score one more.
The Dodgers’ final run came via Hanley Ramirez, who absolutely crushed a Boxberger offering. He hit his solo home run onto the fourth level outside the brick Western Metal Supply Co. building.
Ramirez seems to hit the ball every time up these days. Since coming off the disabled list, he is hitting .393 (11 for 28).
Meanwhile, Matt Kemp started a rehab assignment Saturday at triple-Albuquerque. Hope was trying hard to make an appearance.