Royals 4, Devil Rays 3

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—If Zack Greinke were throwing chairs and kicking over tables, could anyone blame him?

The hard-luck right-hander has thrown well almost every time out, but is still winless despite a quality ERA of 3.09.

In nine starts this season—including Sunday when Kansas City rallied for a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay—his teammates have scored only four runs during the 47 1-3 innings he’s been in the game.

Greinke came into Sunday’s start with a run support of 0.68, worst in the majors, and left in the seventh with a frustrating 1-1 tie.

As soon as he was out of the game, the Royals scored three in the eighth off Mark Hendrickson, who gave up Alberto Castillo’s two-run triple and then balked him home.

Surprisingly, Greinke (0-4) seems neither angry nor bitter.

“My job is not to score runs,” Greinke said. “My job is to make the pitches, and if I make a bad pitch, my job is to make the next pitch. And if I make my pitch and the guy crushes it, then my job is to make the next pitch.

“It’s about winning. It doesn’t matter how many runs you get or how little runs you get. If you win, you win.”

Interim manager Bob Schaefer insists Greinke’s attitude is genuine.

“One thing about Greinke, it doesn’t bother him,” Schaefer said. “This guy’s a winner. He’s a team man. He’s too mature to get frustrated. It’s just a matter of time before he starts getting wins.”

Angel Berroa had an inside-the-park home run in the third inning for the Royals, who won three of four from a Tampa Bay team which dropped to 2-13 on the road.

Mike MacDougal (2-1) got the victory with 1 1-3 innings of hitless relief but almost saw his effort go to waste, too.

The Devil Rays loaded the bases against Ambiorix Burgos with two outs in the ninth and got a two-run single from Julio Lugo before Mike Wood got the last out for his second save in two opportunities.

“We had an opportunity there,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “The last two or three innings we had chances to score every inning.”

Center fielder Damon Hollins raced back to get Berroa’s drive in the third and had the ball in his glove for what would have been a great catch, but it popped out when he banged into the wall. Berroa easily circled the bases before left fielder Chris Singleton could retrieve the ball and get it back to the infield.

It was just the ninth home run the Royals have hit in 17 home games this season.

Asked what part of his body hit the wall, Hollins said, “Everything.”

“Knee, chest, face—I ate the whole wall,” he said. “I just wish I could have held onto it. When you run and you run full speed into the wall … it’s the player that’s going to go down 99 percent of the time.”

Hendrickson (1-2), Tampa Bay’s 6-foot-9 left-hander, walked Emil Brown leading off the seventh and gave up a single to Terrence Long before Castillo lined the second triple of his career down the right-field line. After Mark Teahen grounded out, Hendrickson balked, sending Castillo home with the third run of the inning.

“I came in and looked at it (on film). It’s minor,” Hendrickson said of the balk. “I don’t know what to say about that. It was one of those things, it was such a small, minute thing, you really had a hard time seeing it in slow motion even on the screen.”

The Devil Rays tied it 1-all in the sixth on Aubrey Huff’s RBI single.

Hendrickson went seven innings and gave up four runs and nine hits.

Tony Graffanino singled his first two at-bats and then lifted a liner into left which bounced out of a hustling Singleton’s glove. But Graffanino was out on a close play at third trying to stretch a double into a triple.


Royals 2B Joe McEwing started a terrific double play in the third, making a diving stab of Lugo’s line drive behind the bag and then throwing to first to double off Alex Sanchez, who was running on the play. … McEwing was the victim of a standout play in the fifth when Hendrickson speared his line drive. … 1B Mike Sweeney missed his fourth straight game and was still expected to return on Tuesday. … Berroa’s was the 88th inside-the-park homer in Royals history. … It was also the first home run the Devil Rays had given up in seven games, one short of the team record. … The Devil Rays had not lost a series to the Royals since Aug. 1-3, 2003. … The Devil Rays are 1-10 in day games.

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