Monday, April 14, 2008

Greinke's Complete-Game Gem Tops M's

Zack Greinke limited the Seattle Mariners to five hits and one run in a complete-game 5-1 victory Monday night, helping the Kansas City Royals move back into first place in the American League Central standings with a record of 8-5.

Greinke, who improved to 3-0 with a 0.75 earned run average, needed just 107 pitches to record his third career complete game. It marked back-to-back complete games for the Royals, after Brian Bannister threw a complete-game, three-hitter in a 5-1 win against Minnesota on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals grabbed an early 3-0 lead for Greinke in the second inning, when first baseman Billy Butler led off with his first home run of the season, a solo shot into the bullpen in left field. Right fielder Jose Guillen followed with a double to the gap in right-center, and scored on a one-out home run to center by designated hitter Miguel Olivo, who was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Guillen and Tony Pena, who have both been mired in long hitting slumps, each went 2-for-4 in the game, hopefully showing signs of breaking out offensively.

Seattle (6-8) scored its lone run in the bottom of the third inning, after Greinke issued a leadoff walk to Brad Wilkerson. It was Greinke's only walk, but Wilkerson later scored on a fielder's choice grounder to first base by Ichiro Suzuki.

Kansas City scored a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly to center by David DeJesus, who was playing in a game for the first time since Opening Day, and added its final run on an RBI single to center by catcher John Buck in the eighth inning.

The Mariners threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but left fielder Mark Teahen leaped at the wall to rob what would have been a two-run home run by Seattle's Yuniesky Betancourt, and end the inning.

For most of the night, though, Greinke was keeping the ball down in the zone and forcing the Mariners to ground out. Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek seemed to handle a majority of the ground balls, as he recorded 10 assists and two putouts in the game, finishing just two assists shy of a record-setting assist total for a second baseman.

The Royals and Mariners conclude their brief two-game series Tuesday afternoon at 5:40 p.m. The Royals will send left-hander John Bale (0-2, 5.84) to the hill, while Seattle will counter with righty Miguel Batista (0-2, 6.00).

Zack Greinke Photo Credit: Kevin P. Casey/AP


Mike Roth said...

Just when I start to think, "Here we go again", the Royals have back to back complete games.

Part of me is LOVING how this team is playing for the most part, but the other part of me looks at the bad things and thinks, "Those are the Royals I know, those are the Royals that will be around all year."

On another note, we still haven't scored over 5 runs. That's starting to worry me a little bit.

Michael A. Molde said...

Well, the Royals finally scored more than five runs. Unfortunately, John Bale and the pitching staff blew up last night.

I'm wondering how much longer they're going to stick with this Bale experiment, because it just doesn't seem to be working quite as well as it was during Spring Training. Bale has allowed 25 hits in just 15.1 innings, and teams are batting .403/.418/.532 against him. Ouch. I think a move back to the bullpen is in order, and it might be worth it to give Leo Nunez another shot at the rotation.

Maybe I need to write something about this...

Who links to me?