Zack Greinke has looked like a new pitcher since the All-Star break.
Greinke will try to help the Royals post their first win of the season against the Chicago White Sox when the teams open a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
The 21-year-old right-hander went 1-11 with a 6.20 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break. However, he has won his first two starts in the second half, including Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians in which he allowed just four hits in seven innings.
“Ah, he was great,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “He didn’t have any runners to deal with, to speak of. He fielded his position great. And I thought (catcher John) Buck did a great job with him and kept him aggressive. It seems like they were always one pitch ahead.”
The two victories snapped a four-start and five-decision losing streak for Greinke, who had not won since beating the New York Yankees on May 31. Greinke said getting some time off during the break may have done the trick.
“I sat by the couch or by the pool for three straight days and that probably freshened me up,” said Greinke, who called Tuesday’s start his best of the season. “I think it helped a little bit.”
The White Sox will counter with Freddy Garcia, who was pounded for six earned runs and a season-high 12 hits over eight innings in Wednesday’s 8-6 loss to Detroit. The defeat snapped his six-game winning streak and was the first in 12 starts for Garcia, who had not been charged with a defeat since May 14, when he gave up a season-high seven earned runs in a 9-6 loss to Baltimore.
The White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 6-4 on Sunday to split their four-game series with the defending World Series champions. Tadahito Iguchi went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, and Scott Podsednik also went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a single.
Chicago has swept Kansas City in all three of the three-game series the teams have played this season.