Chicago (12-12) at Kansas City (14-11)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Mon May 4, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Royals should have known Zack Greinke was in for some early success after he shut down the Chicago White Sox in his 2009 debut.

The right-hander looks to become the major league’s first six-game winner while trying to help the Royals win their third straight contest Monday night in the opener of a two-game home series against the White Sox.

Greinke (5-0, 0.50 ERA), who won his last three starts of 2008, allowed three hits and struck out seven in six innings of a 2-0 win at Chicago on April 8.

That outing was the beginning of a dominant April for Greinke, who is three years removed from missing almost an entire season due to a social anxiety disorder and depression.

Until a first-inning RBI single by Toronto’s Vernon Wells on Wednesday, Greinke hadn’t given up an earned run in 43 consecutive innings.

“He’s human, I guess,” teammate Willie Bloomquist told the Royals’ official Web site. “We better check his pulse and make sure he’s OK.”

The right-hander went on to allow two runs and five hits while striking out eight in seven innings of an 11-3 win over the Blue Jays.

“He keeps you off balance,” Wells said of Greinke, who has 44 strikeouts in 36 innings over five starts. “He’ll blow you away with a 95 (mph) if he wants to.”

Greinke, though, seems more concerned with his team’s success than his own. Kansas City (14-11), which took two of three during a season-opening series in Chicago, has won four of its last five and sits atop the AL Central.

“If you ask any one of the guys on the team, we’re not even playing our best baseball,” said Greinke, who is 4-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 15 starts against Chicago.

After going hitless through six innings, Jose Guillen’s three-run homer highlighted a five-run seventh for the Royals in a 7-5 win at Minnesota on Sunday to take two of three in the set. Alberto Callaspo recorded his seventh double in his last five games for Kansas City.

An everyday player for the first time in his four-year career, Callaspo is batting .380 and has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games.

Guillen, meanwhile, is batting .438 (7-for-16) with seven RBIs in his last four contests. He is a lifetime .310 hitter with nine home runs and 33 RBIs against the White Sox, but is 4-for-23 versus scheduled starter Bartolo Colon.

After consecutive rough starts, Colon (2-1, 4.15) allowed an unearned run and four hits while striking out six in seven innings of a 2-1 win over Seattle on Tuesday.

“I felt good,” said the right-hander, who is 15-7 with a 4.84 ERA in 25 starts versus the Royals.

The veteran hopes to help the White Sox (12-12) avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 5-1 at Texas on Sunday to drop two of three in the set. Alexei Ramirez was one of four players with two hits for Chicago, which dropped its second straight road series.

Right fielder Jermaine Dye could be back from missing Sunday’s contest after being hit on the left hand with a pitch a night earlier.

“We’ll see how he’s doing, how he can tolerate the pain when he’s hitting,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site.

A former Royal, Dye went 5-for-12 against Kansas City last month and is batting .389 (14-for-36) with three homers and eight RBIs versus Greinke.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Colón NYM vs. Z. Greinke LAD
3-6 Record 16-8
4.19 ERA 2.16
38 K 242
21 BB 51
1.44 WHIP 1.07


Monday, May 4