Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Greinke Rules in the Rain, Royals Are 6-2

Zack Greinke is picking up right where he left off in 2007. On Wednesday night at soggy Kauffman Stadium, the 24-year old right-hander held the New York Yankees to six hits in eight shutout innings to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 4-0 victory.

After spending much of last season working out of the bullpen, Greinke ended the year by making seven starts between August 24 and September 26. In those games, he was 2-2 with a 1.85 ERA, allowing 30 hits in 34 innings pitched, while striking out 31 and walking just 10.

This season, Greinke is off to a 2-0 start with a 0.60 ERA. He's held the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees -- the two highest-paid lineups in baseball, injuries or not -- to 12 hits in 15 innings, walking four and fanning five.

With the win, Kansas City improves to 6-2, its best start since opening the season 9-0 in 2003. The Yankees fell to 4-5 on the year, and lost a three-game series to the Royals for the first time since being swept in Kansas City from May 31 to June 2, 2005.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning, when catcher John Buck led off with a mammoth home run to center field, his first of the year. Buck was the only Royals player with two hits in the game, but seven KC batters collected hits in the game.

After Buck's homer made the score 1-0, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek drew a one-out walk, moved up to second on one of three walks issued to left fielder Mark Teahen, and scored on a single to right center by right fielder Jose Guillen.

Kansas City added two more runs in the sixth inning when third baseman Alex Gordon walked, and then scored on a double to left by first baseman Ross Gload. Shortstop Tony Pena then drove in the final run of the night on a fielder's choice ground ball to shortstop.

The Royals will attempt to win their fourth-straight game when they face the Yankees in the final game of the series on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. Left-hander John Bale (0-1, 5.68) will start for Kansas City against New York's Andy Pettitte (0-1, 5.40).

Zack Greinke Photo Credit: Reuters Pictures

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