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Dodgers look to end skid and avoid sweep against Diamondbacks

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are playing as well as they have all season.

Because of that, the best team in baseball is in its first lull, if you can call a four-game losing streak a lull.

Arizona took the first two games of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (91-40) with a 6-4 victory Wednesday, extending the Dodgers' losing streak to a season-worst four games and handing them their second consecutive series loss, another season first.

On Thursday, old friend Zack Greinke will oppose Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda as the back-on-track Diamondbacks (75-58) go for their seventh straight victory, which would tie their season high.

"I'm going to enjoy tonight, and I'll sleep good knowing Zack is going to pitch tomorrow, as I do with all of our guys," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "We'll see where that lands us tomorrow. The Dodgers are going to come after us with everything they have. They're a good team, and everyone in the league knows that."

Arizona had a five-run first inning in a 7-6 victory in the series opener Tuesday and scored three runs in the first inning Wednesday. A.J. Pollock homered in the first inning Tuesday, and Adam Rosales and Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first inning Wednesday.

The D-backs have won eight of nine, returning to the form that saw them go 22 games over .500 at 50-28 on June 27. They hit an extended skid on either side of the All-Star break, going 15-26 while the Dodgers raced to a commanding NL West lead. Arizona's offense, sluggish then, has picked up since, with 50 runs in its last 10 games -- exactly the average it had over the first three months.

"It is our resiliency," Lovullo said. "You know you are not going to have smooth sailing for the entire season. Things were going well for us the first 3 1/2, four months of the season. We faced a little adversity. How you climb out of that is how you judge your own character, and we've done a really good job of righting ourselves, getting to a neutral corner, getting back on our feet and playing good baseball.

"I feel good about where we are at, and I know it has the potential to continue."

Greinke (15-6, 3.14 ERA) has not had a lot of success against his former team since signing with Arizona before the 2016 season. He is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season and is 1-4 with a 5.83 ERA in five starts the last two years. Greinke is 12-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 15 home starts this season. The loss was to the Dodgers, 3-2, on Aug. 9.

"With Zack, obviously, there is a lot of familiarity with our guys," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We've gotten him at times and he's gotten us; but, every time you face a guy like Zack Greinke, he's very prepared. He executes really well and you've got your hands full. That's a good club. They are a good club over there."

If Roberts is worried about the four-game losing streak, it does not show.

"Up until this time, we have played very good baseball and had guys step up and be the stopper, whether at two, three or even one game for us," Roberts said. "So, yes, uncharted territory for this ballclub this year.

"It is one thing where you are beating yourself and another thing where this team over there has some momentum. They are playing well. They have some energy and they are getting good pitching. We haven't quit. We haven't laid down. We would rather take it now than the end of September."

Maeda (12-5, 3.76) is 3-2 in nine career starts against Arizona. He beat Milwaukee on Friday, the last game the Dodgers have won, giving up one run in six innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

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