OAKLAND- That's better.
The Royals' Zack Greinke could finally smile after leading his team to a 4-2 victory in Oakland on Monday night.
Greinke, promoted to the Royals' number one starter for the second half, had struggled in his first two outings since the Mid-summer Classic, but finally showed the Royals why it was a good decision to have him as number one.
In his first outing after the break against Chicago, Greinke gave up five runs before recording the first out of the first inning, surrendering a six-run first.
In his second outing against Detroit, Greinke gave up five runs in the first three innings before tossing three scoreless ones. However, with Armando Galarraga on the mound for the Tigers, five Detroit runs was more than enough to propel the Tigers to victory.
In going 7.1 innings, Greinke, 8-7, surrendered two runs, seven hits, and one walk while striking out 11 Oakland batters.
Young right-hander Ramon Ramirez came in the game in the eighth inning with runners at first and third and one out, and proceeded to strike out Jack Cust (for Cust's American League leading 133rd punch-out on the year), and forcing Carlos Gonzalez to hit a weak ground out.
KC's All-Star closer Joakim Soria was lights out again, claiming his 28th save of the year by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth. Soria's save tied the record for most saves in a season by a Mexican-born relief pitcher. He now shares that record with Juan Acevedo.
The A's lefty Dallas Braden took the loss, dropping to 2-1 on the year. Braden went 6.2 innings and surrendered four runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven and giving up two long balls.
The Royals, 15-8 this year when hitting more than one home run in a game, were led by the big sticks from outfielder Jose Guillen and young third baseman Alex Gordon. Guillen cranked a two-run homer in the first, his 14th on the year, and Gordon also hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning, his 12th on the season. Gordon and rookie shortstop Mike Aviles each had three hits in the game.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki provided the A's (53-52) with whatever offense they got in the game, reaching base four times against Greinke, including getting three hits off him.
After a disappointing homestand in which they were swept by the Tigers and split a four-game series with the Rays, the Royals (48-59) look to make this short three-game road trip a winning one on Tuesday night as they take on the A's at 9:05 CDT. The Royals Gil Meche (8-9) with a 4.31 ERA will face the Oakland's Greg Smith, who is a tough-luck (5-9) with a 3.90 ERA.