Greinke looks to win his fifth straight start Saturday night when he makes his second visit to Kauffman Stadium as a visitor this season, this time with the Los Angeles Angels .
A 2009 Cy Young Award winner with Kansas City, Greinke (5-2, 4.15 ERA) returned to face the Royals with Milwaukee on June 12, allowing a solo home run and striking out eight in seven innings of a 2-1 loss. He didn't earn a decision.
The Brewers eventually dealt Greinke to the Angels in July. After going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA over his first five starts with them, he's gone 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA over the four starts since.
The right-hander gave up two runs, five hits and struck out seven over seven innings of a 3-2 win against Detroit on Sunday.
"I expect the whole staff to go out and throw a quality start every start," Greinke told the Angels' official website. "If someone doesn't throw a quality start, that's surprising."
He'll take the mound as the Angels (79-66) go for their third straight win and try to cut further into their 2 1/2-game deficit for the second AL wild card.
Los Angeles rallied for a 9-7 win Friday to open the three-game series. Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer in the eighth to tie the game at 7-all before Torii Hunter drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the go-ahead score."That situation called for being aggressive," Morales said. "That was like a new breath of fresh air for the team."
Erick Aybar went 4 for 5 with an RBI double. He's hitting .411 (23 of 56) with five doubles and eight runs scored during a 14-game hitting streak and is batting .412 in 24 lifetime games at Kauffman Stadium.
Aybar and the Angels have won four straight and 10 of 13 on the road. They've scored at least six runs in all of their last four road wins.
The Royals (65-79) fell short for a second straight game after losing 4-3 in 10 innings at Minnesota on Thursday.
Salvador Perez had a 17-game hitting streak end after going 0 for 4, while the team announced Lorenzo Cain , batting .328 with two homers and seven RBIs over his previous 14 games, would likely miss the rest of the season with a strained right hamstring.
Bully Butler hit his 100th homer in the second inning.
"I'm glad I got it at home, to do it in front of the home crowd and the reception was great," Butler said. "It's a great feeling."
While not nearly as sought after as Greinke, Jeremy Guthrie (4-3, 3.23) has been a solid addition to the Royals rotation since being acquired from Colorado.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his last seven starts - all Kansas City wins. He pitched eight scoreless innings against Chicago last Sunday, scattering six hits in a 2-1, 10-inning victory.
"If the team wins every time you pitch, that's a good thing," Guthrie said.
Guthrie is 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in nine appearances against the Angels, including 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in four starts in Anaheim.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|August 30, 2012||Howie Kendrick||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right knee|
|August 22, 2012||Albert Pujols||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf tightness|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 13, 2012||C.J. Wilson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left hand|
|July 30, 2012||Mark Trumbo||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|Kansas City Royals|
|September 14, 2012||Lorenzo Cain||Day-to-Day||Left game - Strained right hamstring|
|August 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Broken left thumb|
|August 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - fractured left thumb|
|July 28, 2012||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right knee|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Zack Greinke threw 109 pitches in holding the Kansas Royals scoreless for 8 1-3 innings.
Ernesto Frieri then needed just four pitches to ruin Greinke's spectacular outing and hurt the Los Angeles Angels ' playoff hopes.
Billy Butler hit a two-run homer and Salvador Perez followed with the game-winner as the Royals rallied to hand the Los Angeles Angels a stunning 3-2 loss on Saturday night.
Frieri (3-1) replaced Greinke with one out in the ninth after Alex Gordon singled. Butler homered to center on Frieri's first pitch to tie it. Three pitches later, Perez hit a flyball off the left-field pole for his first career walkoff homer.
"This ballpark can play funny sometimes," Butler said. "I knew that one was gone. We knew we were looking for a fastball. I told Sal on deck, `You'd better not be late' and neither of us was late."
All Greinke could do was watch the dramatic turn of events.
"It was pretty amazing," Greinke said. "I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back homers to walk off like that. I don't know if it's ever happened. You don't see that I think ever.
"It's part of baseball," Greinke added. "Ernie's got a great fastball. Butler is a good fastball hitter. Yesterday he got it by them. He threw his best pitch to both of those guys and it just didn't work out."
Greinke gave up just five singles, walked two and struck out three in 8 1-3 innings. He has allowed seven runs and 24 hits in 37 innings for a 1.70 ERA in his past five starts.
Greinke, who has thrown up to 118 pitches in a game this year and at least 103 pitches in all 10 of his Angels starts, said he could have finished.
"Yeah, but I mean I'm not going to second guess," Greinke said. "I think he's ( Mike Scioscia ) probably the best manager in baseball at least from the outside looking in and so far being here. He's smarter than me."
Greinke has not pitched a complete game since 2009 when he won the American League Cy Young Award while with the Royals.
"We were getting to that point where I wanted to give them a different look," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on pulling Greinke. "Obviously it didn't work. Zack was getting near 110 pitches. Ernie just hit a couple of bats with fastballs. He left them up, middle in and those guys didn't miss them."
The Angels entered the day 2 1/2 games back of Baltimore and New York for the second wild-card spot in the AL
"Anytime you lose a game late it's a heavier page to turn, but we have to come out tomorrow," Scioscia said. "We're at the point in the season where everything changes, inning to inning, pitch to pitch."
Kendrys Morales , who homered for the second straight game, hit an 0-1 pitch from Jeremy Guthrie to right leading off the Angels' fifth for the first run.
Guthrie, who was 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his previous seven starts, faced the minimum number of batters the first four innings. He gave up a fourth inning leadoff single to Mike Trout , but picked him off first. Guthrie left after eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
"I thought early my fastball was good," Guthrie said. "I left a fastball up to Morales, but I got some groundballs and we played good defense. The majority of your games are against tough lineups. When you go up against that you anticipate a dog fight."
Kelvin Herrera (3-3) replaced Guthrie and picked up the win with a scoreless ninth.
Greinke, who was acquired from Milwaukee in a trade on July 27 trade, pitched out of a first inning jam.
Alcides Escobar , who had two of the hits off Greinke, singled with one out to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Escobar advanced to third on Gordon's groundball single to right.
Escobar was out at the plate when he attempted to score on Butler's grounder to third baseman Alberto Callaspo . Perez's grounder to Callaspo ended the inning and threat.
The Angels added a run in the eighth, when Vernon Wells led off with a single and advanced to third on two groundball outs. After Trout walked, Torii Hunter laced a run-scoring single to right that Francoeur apparently lost in the lights as it glanced off the heel of his glove. Hunter leads the American League with a .349 average since the All-Star break and has 16 RBIs in his past 17 games.
NOTES: RHP Ervin Santana might be pushed back a few days in the Angels rotation after being struck in the arm by Josh Donaldson 's liner in Wednesday's start against Oakland. "Ervin just got smoked on the forearm," Scioscia said. "We might take a couple of days with him. Ervin's going to get the ball; he's going to pitch. It's set him back a little bit as to when he's going to throw his `pen. He'll throw a couple of light things. He'll probably throw this weekend and then we'll see where he is." . Royals 2B Johnny Giavotella committed two errors. The Royals had committed just five errors in their previous 18 games. .This series closes Sunday with the Royals starting rookie LHP Will Smith , who pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday in a victory at Minnesota. RHP Dan Haren will start for the Angels.