SEATTLE – Part 2 of Cy Young Weekend appeared at Safeco Field on Sunday, and Zack Greinke made the Seattle Mariners wonder just how many games he’d win if he didn’t pitch for the Kansas City Royals.
By the end of an impressive day’s work, Greinke had won his 13th and rendered the Mariners a hapless – and almost hitless – bunch in a 3-0 Royals victory.
Kenji Johjima’s two-out single to center field in the second inning was the Mariners’ only hit, and that was a flare that dropped in front of center fielder Mitch Maier.
“I thought he might get to it,” Johjima said. “I thought he had a chance.”
The Mariners’ only other base runner was Bill Hall, who walked earlier in the second. After Johjima’s single, Greinke retired 22 straight Mariners, none more impressively than the last.
He threw a 66 mph curveball that Josh Wilson swung over, around and through, then a 96 mph fastball that Wilson fouled into the screen, and finally an 84 mph slider that became a dribbler to shortstop for the final out of the game.
“When they have control of their offspeed pitches and they throw that hard, they’re going to be real tough to beat,” said Hall, the newest Mariner after being acquired from the Brewers on Aug. 19. “He’s in the same category with (the Giants’ Tim) Lincecum. He’s as advertised.”
On Friday, the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez continued to state his Cy Young case by holding the Royals to five hits and three runs in seven innings, giving him a 13-5 record with a 2.77 earned run average.
Greinke, 13-8, lowered his ERA to 2.32 with his third career complete-game shutout. The Royals are 13-14 in his starts this season.
The Mariners’ only chance was to keep the game scoreless long enough for Greinke to wear out. That opportunity was lost – along with a routine fly ball – in the fifth inning.
Ryan Rowland-Smith was in the midst of his own gem, having allowed two bloop singles through four innings, when Alberto Callaspo hit a routine fly to straight-away left field.
Rookie Michael Saunders took a step in, and then was in trouble. He couldn’t drift back quickly enough and the ball sailed over his head for a leadoff double. Miguel Olivo pushed a single to right field that scored Callaspo, Rowland Smith walked Maier and David DeJesus hit an RBI single to center. Rowland-Smith also threw a wild pitch that scored a run, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead.
“The bottom line is I just misjudged it,” Saunders said. “I wouldn’t say it was really a tough play. I just ran in on it and it kept going on me. I just misread it.”
Rowland-Smith retired the next nine hitters and pitched eight innings for the first time in his career, but he was clearly irritated at the overall outcome after the game.
“I was on track the whole time,” said Rowland-Smith, 2-2 and 3.95. “The fifth inning, a little jam shot from Olivo, the ball that was misplayed, then that ball that got through by DeJesus. I was still making good pitches. I felt great out there and I just kept making my pitches. I felt like I could throw all day.”
Greinke, who pitched for the Spokane Indians in 2002, faced a Mariners lineup thinned nearly beyond recognition. Missing were Adrian Beltre (testicle), Ichiro Suzuki (tight calf), Russell Branyan (back) and Ken Griffey Jr. (sore knee).
His strikeout of Hall in the seventh inning was the third of only five Sunday – he struck out 15 in his previous start – but it made him the fourth pitcher in Royals history with 200 strikeouts in a season.
Royals 3, Mariners 0
LOB—Kansas City 2, Seattle 2. 2B—Callaspo (31). RBIs—DeJesus (63), Olivo (47). RLSP—Kansas City 1 (Bloomquist); Seattle 1 (Ja.Wilson). RMU—Teahen. GIDP—DeJesus. DP—Seattle 1 (Jo.Lopez, Ja.Wilson, Hannahan).
|Greinke W, 13-8||9||1||0||0||1||5||114||2.32|
|Rowland- Smth L, 2-2||8||5||3||3||1||7||113||3.95|
WP—Rowland-Smith. T—2:02. A—30,286.
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