Although Zack Greinke has been outstanding early this season, he had some trouble with his control in his last outing.
Greinke (3-0, 1.24 ERA) won his first three outings of the season while pitching a total of 24 innings and giving up only five walks. He wasn’t as sharp Saturday at Oakland, as he walked four, allowed three runs and needed 100 pitches to complete five innings in a game the Royals went on to lose 6-5.
“I was probably too predictable in what I was throwing,” Greinke told the Royals’ official Web site. “And my offspeed wasn’t working like it’s been, and I wasn’t throwing it for any quality at all.”
The 24-year-old right-hander will make his second home start of the season. He had a terrific outing in his first, a 4-0 win over the New York Yankees on April 9. Greinke scattered six hits in eight innings - matching the longest home start of his career.
Greinke is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA against Toronto in five career appearances, including three starts.
The Royals (9-13) have lost a season-high seven straight games after being swept in a doubleheader by Cleveland on Thursday. They have scored three runs or fewer in five losses during their skid.
The Blue Jays (10-13), meanwhile, have lost four straight, including a three-game sweep at Tampa Bay. They went 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position in the series, including 1-for-10 in a 5-3 loss on Thursday.
“We’re playing well below our capability,” Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun said. “We’ve had some moments of brilliance. We get some great individual performances from people night in and night out. But as a team, we haven’t played a really solid nine-inning game in a while.”
It was a forgettable series for Blue Jays shortstop David Eckstein, who went 1-for-10. Eckstein, however, is a career .365 batter at Kauffman Stadium, where he’s hit safely in 18 of 19 games.
A.J. Burnett (2-1, 6.85) will take the mound for Toronto after winning for the first time since April 2 on Sunday. He allowed three runs over five innings in a 5-3 victory over Detroit. The right-hander struck out the side in order in the first inning, but struggled the rest of the way and wound up issuing six walks.
Burnett excelled in two starts against the Royals last season, winning both while posting a 1.29 ERA. He’s 2-1 with a 3.67 ERA in four career outings versus Kansas City.
Toronto won four of seven meetings against the Royals in last season’s series.