Blue Jays, Greinke streaks end as Royals win
The Toronto Blue Jays ended Zack Greinke's streak but couldn't keep their own alive after an 11-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
Looking to win their seventh consecutive series this season, the Blue Jays can only do as well as a split with the Royals in this four-game series. They have given up the lead in the AL East, as Boston won their game against Cleveland.
However, Toronto did manage to halt the Kansas City ace's streak of 43 innings without an earned run.
Greinke (5-0) hadn't allowed an earned run in 29 innings this season and 43 overall dating back to the 2008 campaign, but the Blue Jays were up to the task early.
Marco Scutaro doubled to lead off the first, putting Greinke's streak in jeopardy immediately, but the young pitcher didn't seem rattled by the hit, shrugging it off with back-to-back strikeouts on Aaron Hill and Alex Rios.
Greinke also had Vernon Wells down in the count until the Toronto outfielder knocked a grounder up the middle to score Scutaro, ending the streak and putting the Blue Jays up 1-0.
After Scutaro touched home plate, the fans in Kansas City stood and applauded their pitcher's effort and he rewarded them with a third strikeout on Scott Rolen to end the inning.
"Usually, two outs, anyone on base, I feel like I could finish it," Greinke said. "But I threw some pitches right where I wanted to and Vernon Wells, I usually consider him a guy who would chase a good slider. But he did a great job. I guess he just said, 'I'm going to let any fastball go by me and I'm just hitting a straight slider,' and he won the game out of that."
Wells also paid homage to the only pitcher in Royals history to post a 5-0 April.
"He was able to throw every pitch for a strike," Wells said. "He keeps you off balance. He'll blow you away with a 95 (miles per hour) if he wants to. He was dominant, as he has been all year."
Greinke pitched seven innings and gave up only two runs off five hits and struck out eight to post a league-leading fifth win of the season.
Butler's big night
The Royals got the run back in the bottom of the second, when first baseman Billy Butler hit his first home run of the year, a one-out solo shot to centre field off Blue Jays starter, Brian Tallet.
Tallet had a night to forget: in a little over four innings of work, he gave up 10 earned runs off 11 hits, walked three and struck out two.
Butler seemed to have Tallet's number all night, posting four RBI's off two home runs and a double off the Toronto pitcher. The first baseman went 4-for-5 on the night, a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. It marked the first two homers for Butler this season.
"I really didn't do anything different," Butler said. "I've been hitting the ball hard lately and it just hasn't been working out. But it's a long season and it always evens out. I've got to keep it going, but still enjoy tonight. It felt awesome. I picked up some guys who have been picking me up."
Short-lived lead for Toronto
Toronto retook the lead in the third inning as Scutaro, walked by Greinke to start the inning, was advanced to third base after a Hill shot to centre field. The Toronto shortstop scored for the second time in the game when the Royals conceded the run after Alex Rios hit into a double play.
However, the lead was short lived.
Kansas City's Coco Crisp hit a leadoff double over the head of Travis Snider in left field followed by a great sacrifice bunt by Willie Bloomquist that advanced Crisp to third and allowed Bloomquist to take first.
With two aboard and no one out, Tallet got some breathing room as he forced Mark Teahen and Jose Guillen to pop out.
Up to bat next was Butler, who ripped a two-RBI line-drive down the left field line and the Royals took a 3-2 lead, one they would not give up for the rest of the game)
Blue Jays Manager Cito Gaston came to the mound to have a quick chat with his pitcher, but next batter Mark Jacobs cashed in Butler with a drive past third base to make it 4-2.
Teahen smacks Tallet fastball over the wall
With two away in the bottom of the fourth, the Royals added to their lead as Tallet walked Bloomquist before offering up a fastball to Teahen.
The Kansas City third baseman gladly accepted the gift from the Blue Jays hurler and sent the ball over centre field wall for a 6-2 lead.
Butler continued his big night with a leadoff home run in the fifth and Mike Aviles connected for a two-RBI triple to chase Tallet, who handed the ball over to Shawn Camp with the score at 9-2.
It was quickly 10-2 as Aviles came home after Blue jays catcher Rod Barajas and Camp had their signals crossed and a pitch was mishandled.
Kansas City added one in the 6th to make it 11-2 and the Blue Jays scored their third run off a double play in the 8th to make the final score 11-3.
The final meeting in the four-game series between the two teams goes on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.