Mike Fiers hadn’t started a major-league game in 14 months and he hadn’t won one as a starter for almost two full years.
But the 29-year-old was dominant Saturday night, allowing a run on just three hits in eight innings in the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park.
The Brewers (65-52) clinched a series win over the best road team in baseball, the Dodgers (66-52), and will go for the sweep Sunday.
To get the win, Milwaukee had to do something rare—beat Zack Greinke at Miller Park. The former Cy Young winner was 15-0 in 23 starts at Miller Park when he pitched for the Brewers in 2011-12, but took his second straight loss here since joining the Dodgers in 2013.
Khris Davis got to Greinke (12-8) in the second, belting his 19th home run of the season—tying Mark Reynolds for the team lead—on an opposite field shot to right-center after Scooter Gennett had singled with one out in the inning.
That was all Fiers (1-1) needed to get his first victory as a starter in the majors since Sept. 8, 2012, at St. Louis.
His lone mistake was a solo homer surrendered to Adrian Gonzalez—who homered for the second straight night—in the top of the fourth.
The only other hits Fiers allowed was a single to Dee Gordon in the sixth—he was erased while trying to steal second—and a single by Matt Kemp in the top of the seventh, which was wiped out when Fiers started a 1-6-3 double play on Carl Crawford’s grounder.
Fiers walked one batter and struck out five. Rodriguez gave up a hit and a walk but worked around them for the save.
The eight innings for Fiers matched a career high. He also went eight innings in a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on Aug. 7, 2012.
Milwaukee padded the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Carlos Gomez led off the inning with his 18th homer of the season to left field. Jonathan Lucroy singled to left and moved up when Ryan Braun walked before the red-hot Aramis Ramirez—who extended his hitting streak to 11 games Saturday—singled up the middle to plate Lucroy.
With three hits Saturday, Ramirez pushed his average to .301 on the season. He is a sizzling 22-for-44 (.500) during his streak, with a homer and nine RBI.
The Brewers roughed up Greinke for four runs in six innings and expanded their lead in the National League Central to 2½ games over the Pittsburgh Pirates and three games over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates lost at home to San Diego 2-1 and the Cardinals were routed at Baltimore for a second straight day, 10-3.
Lucroy was also 3-for-4 for Milwaukee, which had nine hits.
Going for the sweep won’t be easy for the Brewers, who face reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (13-2, 1.82 ERA) on Sunday. Rookie right-hander Jimmy Nelson (2-2, 4.20 ERA) gets the ball for Milwaukee for the 1:10 p.m. tilt.