Greinke faces Cleveland again Friday night and will try to set a career high for victories in the opener of a three-game road series.
Greinke (13-8, 2.22 ERA) was 1-2 with a 4.22 ERA in five starts before striking out a career-high 15 in eight innings Aug. 25 in a 6-2 home victory against the Indians.
Greinke has given up one unearned run since and posted a 0.72 ERA in his last three starts to maintain his AL lead. He followed his one-hitter in Seattle on Aug. 30 with one run over eight innings in a 2-1 loss in 11 innings Saturday against visiting Los Angeles.
“To me, he’s the best pitcher hands down in the American League,” manager Trey Hillman told the Royals’ official Web site. “He hasn’t had a lot of run support. I’m hoping they look at the ERA instead of the wins and losses. But he’s still got time to get, hopefully, four or five more (wins).”
Greinke, who also won 13 games last season, is expected to make five more starts. He could use a victory over the Indians as he’ll likely face playoff contenders Detroit and Boston in his next two outings.
Greinke is 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in four matchups against Cleveland this season and recorded his first win against the Indians April 13, part of a 6-0 start with a 0.40 ERA in the season’s first month.
He did not get a decision in his only start this season at Progressive Field on June 11.
While their ace searches for his third consecutive victory and fourth in a row against Cleveland, the Royals (55-85) will try to extend their win streak to five - their longest since a six-game run May 2-7. They finished off a three-game home sweep of AL Central-leading Detroit with Thursday’s 7-4 win.
Kansas City has outscored opponents 25-13 during its streak and has 10 or more hits in five straight games. Billy Butler(notes) has led the way by going 14 for 25 (.560) with 10 RBIs in the past six contests but is hitless in seven at-bats against Indians starter Justin Masterson(notes) (4-7, 4.40).
Like his team, Masterson has struggled for wins since moving to the rotation last month. The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.60 ERA in six starts for Cleveland, which acquired him from Boston in a July 31 deal involving All-Star catcher Victor Martinez(notes).
He suffered his third straight loss Saturday against Minnesota despite allowing two runs over six innings. Masterson has received one run of support in each of his last three outings.
He’s 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two career starts against the Royals and suffered the loss in the game Greinke won Aug. 25, allowing four runs over six innings.
Cleveland (60-79) has lost eight of 10 and was swept in three games by visiting Texas. However, the Indians are 9-6 against the Royals this season and 4-2 at home heading into the teams’ final meeting this season.
They are attempting to win the season series for the sixth consecutive year.