Zack Greinke is finally looking like the former AL Cy Young Award winner he was with the Kansas City Royals and demonstrating why he was one of the most coveted arms at the trade deadline.
Greinke looks to win his fifth straight start Saturday night when he makes his second visit to Kauffman Stadium as a visitor this season, this time with the Los Angeles Angels.
A 2009 Cy Young Award winner with Kansas City, Greinke (5-2, 4.15 ERA) returned to face the Royals with Milwaukee on June 12, allowing a solo home run and striking out eight in seven innings of a 2-1 loss. He didn't earn a decision.
The Brewers eventually dealt Greinke to the Angels in July. After going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA over his first five starts with them, he's gone 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA over the four starts since.
The right-hander gave up two runs, five hits and struck out seven over seven innings of a 3-2 win against Detroit on Sunday.
"I expect the whole staff to go out and throw a quality start every start," Greinke told the Angels' official website. "If someone doesn't throw a quality start, that's surprising."
He'll take the mound as the Angels (79-66) go for their third straight win and try to cut further into their 2 1/2-game deficit for the second AL wild card.
Los Angeles rallied for a 9-7 win Friday to open the three-game series. Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer in the eighth to tie the game at 7-all before Torii Hunter drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the go-ahead score.
"That situation called for being aggressive,'' Morales said. ''That was like a new breath of fresh air for the team.''
Erick Aybar went 4 for 5 with an RBI double. He's hitting .411 (23 of 56) with five doubles and eight runs scored during a 14-game hitting streak and is batting .412 in 24 lifetime games at Kauffman Stadium.
Aybar and the Angels have won four straight and 10 of 13 on the road. They've scored at least six runs in all of their last four road wins.
The Royals (65-79) fell short for a second straight game after losing 4-3 in 10 innings at Minnesota on Thursday.
Salvador Perez had a 17-game hitting streak end after going 0 for 4, while the team announced Lorenzo Cain, batting .328 with two homers and seven RBIs over his previous 14 games, would likely miss the rest of the season with a strained right hamstring.
Bully Butler hit his 100th homer in the second inning.
"I'm glad I got it at home, to do it in front of the home crowd and the reception was great," Butler said. "It's a great feeling."
While not nearly as sought after as Greinke, Jeremy Guthrie (4-3, 3.23) has been a solid addition to the Royals rotation since being acquired from Colorado.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his last seven starts - all Kansas City wins. He pitched eight scoreless innings against Chicago last Sunday, scattering six hits in a 2-1, 10-inning victory.
"If the team wins every time you pitch, that's a good thing," Guthrie said.
Guthrie is 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in nine appearances against the Angels, including 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in four starts in Anaheim.
- Zack Greinke
- Kansas City Royals
- Los Angeles Angels