Greinke hit hard, takes blame for loss
Ace allows seven runs (five earned) as KC's skid hits eight
TORONTO -- Zack Greinke was blunt about it. It could have been worse. Worse than the seven runs (five earned) and nine hits that he allowed in five innings as the Royals lost their eighth game in a row, 9-3, to the Blue Jays on Friday night before a crowd of 15,435 at Rogers Centre.
"It was really bad, but it could have been a lot worse," Greinke said. "Obviously, I have to change something a little bit."
Greinke (8-2) has been so good this season that he did not allow a home run until Lyle Overbay hit one in the second inning, his sixth of the season, to end Greinke's homerless string at 111 innings going back to Sept. 2, 2008. For good measure, Adam Lind hit another, his ninth, in the fifth.
"It was kind weird out there," Greinke said. "It's one thing to get hit. Everything was just a line drive. No weak contact. Good hitting and bad pitching come together at the same time."
The Blue Jays did their real damage in a four-run third, helped by one of three errors the Royals made and finished off by Overbay's two-run double.
The scoring ended when Rod Barajas hit a two-run homer in the eighth against Juan Cruz.
Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero (3-2) allowed five hits, two walks and three runs and struck out five in seven innings to earn the victory. Romero allowed consecutive homers in the seventh, a two-run drive to Jose Guillen, his sixth, and a solo shot to Mike Jacobs, his 10th.
"We hit a couple of balls hard, I'd like to see it in the right spots and give ourselves a couple of breaks, but we didn't do that either," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Trying to look for the silver lining, we had a couple of guys swing the bats well and we didn't quit."
Greinke has been so good that the outing took his ERA from 1.10 to 1.55.
"These guys don't miss fastballs," Hillman said. "Some of them caught too much plate, some of them were up and caught too much plate. You can't do that to this club. We know how well they swing the bat, and they're not going to miss fastballs, and they didn't today.
"He wasn't as sharp to both sides of the plate. He needed to get inside a little bit more. He tried to get in there a couple of times and left it over the plate. Command and control wasn't what it has been even though it was high velocity."
In Greinke's first 10 starts, he did not allow more than two runs, but in his past two, he has allowed 11 runs (eight earned) in 12 innings.
"Even the outs were hit hard," Greinke said.
"Maybe he just wasn't as sharp tonight," Jacobs said. "I don't think you can expect a pitcher to go out and give you eight innings of shutout baseball. He's been doing more than what he needs to be doing for this team, and tonight was just not his night. Big deal, shake it off and be ready to go next time."
Greinke looked a little bewildered after the game.
"Early in the game, if I threw a strike, they jumped on it right away," he said. "I was getting behind on the other guys and then having to come to them. If I threw a strike, they hit it hard. They didn't chase anything with two strikes. There were some close pitches, they took them. If I threw it for a strike, they hit them. Obviously, I didn't do anything right."
Blue Jays leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro led off the first with a double, his first of three against Greinke. He scored on a single by Vernon Wells, who had two runs batted in for the game.
"I don't remember seeing anyone get hit that hard in a long time," Greinke said. "It's happened to me one other time. I gave up 11 runs that game. In that game, I pitched terrible. Today, I just got crushed."
He said he tried to make adjustments.
"I thought so," Greinke said. "They might not have been the right ones. They came out swinging a lot early, so I tried to be a little more fine later on. I wasn't necessarily getting behind in the count that much, but the pitching coach [Bob McClure] said I was not throwing strikes with my offspeed [pitches] like I usually do. But it was because they were hitting it early on and I was trying to be too fine after that.
"I tried to make an adjustment, but it didn't work because they were still hitting the ball just as hard as before."
Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.