CINCINNATI (AP) - Zack Greinke was due, and Reds manager Dusty
Baker knew it.
"You're always a little apprehensive and nervous when a guy of
that quality is 1-8," Baker said. "You figure the law of averages
is on his side."
Greinke struck out 12 in a five-hitter, ending a personal
four-start skid and leading the Kansas City Royals to a 7-3 victory
over Cincinnati on Sunday.
Greinke (2-8) allowed two solo homers to Joey Votto but was in
control throughout his first victory since May 13 against Cleveland
and his second complete game of the season.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner benefited from some rare
run support. Kansas City hadn't scored more than six runs in any
game while Greinke was on mound.
"One or two runs don't matter, but getting four runs at the end
of the game made it a lot easier to pitch," he said.
Billy Butler set season highs with four hits, including a homer,
and four RBIs for Kansas City, which took two of three in the
weekend series. David DeJesus went 3 for 3 with a homer and scored
"We've had a stretch of games where we haven't scored a lot of
runs," Butler said. "I hadn't been able to get the pitchers to
come to me. They were pitching me tough - pounding me inside.
Today, I was able to get them to come to me. I was able to stay
back on the off-speed pitches."
The Royals scored six runs with two out, including Butler's
two-run shot in the fifth that gave them a 3-2 lead. DeJesus
singled and stole second before Butler hit a 1-0 pitch from Sam
May 26 against Texas.
Butler added a two-run double in the seventh after the Royals
chased LeCure (1-3), making it 5-2.
"That double to right field was huge," Kansas City managed Ned
Yost said. "As long as he's driving in runs, I don't care how he
Butler also doubled in the ninth to make it seven hits in his
last eight at-bats.
LeCure allowed four runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The
rookie right-hander has faced Cy Young winners Greinke and St.
Louis' Chris Carpenter and tough San Francisco starter Matt Cain in
his last three games.
"I plan to play this game a long time, and if I want to be
considered legitimate, then I have to prove that I can beat those
guys," LeCure said.
DeJesus connected in the ninth against Nick Masset, hitting the
struggling reliever's first pitch to him deep to center.
Votto hit his 13th homer in the bottom half but Greinke
responded by striking out Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce to end the
"You can see why he won the Cy Young Award," Baker said.
Votto also went deep in the first and Miguel Cairo had an RBI
groundout as Cincinnati took a 2-1 lead.
NOTES: Royals C Jason Kendall went 0 for 5 and is mired in a
1-for-28 skid. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was scratched with a
cramp in his right hamstring, which also forced him out of a game
against Pittsburgh on May 27. Phillips had started every game this
season and missed just five innings. His 15-game hitting streak is
Cincinnati's longest of the season and the longest current streak
in the majors.