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Greinke sharp as Royals blank Tigers

Aug 30, 2007 - 4:42 AM By Alan Eskew PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Zack Greinke appears to be pitching his way into the Kansas City Royals rotation as the Detroit Tigers are sliding farther back in the playoff race.

Greinke combined with three relievers to toss a shutout as the Royals scored five runs in the first inning off Miller en route to a 5-0 triumph over the Tigers on Wednesday night.

"Starting is my preference," Greinke said. "I think if you are a good starter you are more valuable than if you are a good reliever."

Detroit (71-61) has lost eight of its last 12, dropping 4 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians (75-57) in the American League Central. That matches the farthest the Tigers have been out of first this season.

"I don't worry so much about Cleveland," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We can make up four or five games in a hurry, but not if we're playing the way we're playing, pitching the way we're pitching."

Greinke, who was making his second start since May 6 before going to the bullpen, registered five strikeouts over four innings, coming out after 71 pitches. He gave up five hits and walked none.

"I'm a lot more confident," Greinke said. "Before I felt if I missed over the plate, it would be hit. Maybe I was pitching scared. Maybe that's why they hit me because they could sense that."

Since returning to the rotation, Greinke has thrown seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits with seven strikeouts.

"He was real good against Cleveland (on Friday) and I thought he was even better tonight," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "He's faced two pretty good teams.

While Greinke was superb, Miller, the Tigers' rookie lefthanded starter, was anything but.

Miller (5-5) faced 10 batters in the first inning and nine reached base before he was pulled and replaced by Zack Miner.

"Andrew was trying to get by with one pitch, a fastball, and when he did get it over the plate it was whackable and they whacked it," Leyland said. "We wanted to get him through the first inning, obviously, we wanted to get him five. He didn't throw anything for strikes but the fastball, maybe he threw one curveball for a strike. He was bouncing his curveball.

"A one-pitch pitcher up here probably is coming out of the bullpen. They looked like they didn't have any respect for anything and they were just sitting on the fastball."

Miller gave up five runs on five hits, two walks and two hit batters in two-thirds of an inning. Miller retired just one as catcher Ivan Rodriguez picked Alex Gordon off second base for the second out.

"When you put yourself in bad situations, bad things are going to happen and that's what I did," Miller said. "If you put some guys on base, it opens up the defense and they capitalized on it."

After a good start, Miller is winless since July 18, posting an 0-2 record with an 11.57 ERA over five starts in that span.

"We're going to hash that over," Leyland said of Miller's starting status. "We're going to talk out what is best for him. It's pretty intense up here this time of year. At this point maybe we're asking too much of him. We don't want to do something foolish."

Esteban German's triple to right scored David DeJesus, who was hit by a Miller pitch to leadoff the game, to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead.

The Royals then received run-producing singles by Mark Grudzielanek, who had three of their eight hits, and Gordon. Tony Pena Jr. followed with a single to score Billy Butler and Emil Brown before Miller retired a batter.

"You want to go up and see a couple of pitches because he (Miller) wasn't able to put the ball anywhere he wanted," DeJesus said. "You wanted to work the count. You didn't want to be too aggressive.

"It's always fun when everyone is getting on base and scoring runs. It was definitely a way a start and give Zack a little breathing room."

The Kansas City offense had no runs and just three hits after Miller left, but the damage was already done.

Ryan Braun (2-0) worked 2 2/3 innings after Greinke left, allowing two hits and striking out three to pick up the victory. Braun got Curtis Granderson to ground into a double play for the first time this season in his 513th at-bat in the fifth inning.

David Riske worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to log his fourth save.

The Tigers were shutout for just the second time this season.

"We still had eight innings to put some runs on the board and we didn't do anything," Leyland said. "It is not the best tonic in the world to go out and be trailing by five after the first inning."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
    KANSAS CITY 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 5 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: DET - ANDREW MILLER, ZACH MINER (1ST), TIM BYRDAK (5TH), FERNANDO
    RODNEY (7TH), BOBBY SEAY (8TH) AND IVAN RODRIGUEZ
    KAN - ZACK GREINKE, RYAN BRAUN (5TH), JIMMY GOBB

    Aug 29 11:06 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Tigers vs. RoyalsAug 29 8:47 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TONY PENA JR SCORED BILLY BUTLER AND EMIL BROWN.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, T PENA JR ON FIRST, A GORDON ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
    KANSAS CITY 5 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J GATHRIGHT (.345, 0 HR, 15 RBI)

    Tigers vs. RoyalsAug 29 8:36 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ALEX GORDON SCORED MARK GRUDZIELANEK.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, A GORDON ON FIRST, E BROWN ON SECOND, B
    BUTLER ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
    KANSAS CITY 3 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: T PENA JR (.261, 1 HR, 38 RBI)

    Tigers vs. RoyalsAug 29 8:35 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK GRUDZIELANEK SCORED ESTEBAN GERMAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M GRUDZIELANEK ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
    KANSAS CITY 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: B BUTLER (.294, 6 HR, 42 RBI)

    Tigers vs. RoyalsAug 29 8:29 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY ESTEBAN GERMAN SCORED DAVID DEJESUS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E GERMAN ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
    KANSAS CITY 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M GRUDZIELANEK (.307, 5 HR, 43 RBI)

    Tigers vs. RoyalsAug 29 8:24 PM