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Greinke bombed

Blue Jays rough up Kansas City’s ace, 9-3

June 6, 2009

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Kansas City pitcher Zack Greinke wipes his brow during the fourth inning where he gave up four runs to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals lost, 9-3, Friday in Toronto.

Kansas City pitcher Zack Greinke wipes his brow during the fourth inning where he gave up four runs to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals lost, 9-3, Friday in Toronto.

— Zack Greinke felt weird after taking his worst pounding of the season.

Adam Lind and Lyle Overbay hit solo home runs, and the Toronto Blue Jays roughed up the Kansas City ace, handing the Royals their eighth straight loss, 9-3, on Friday night.

“They hit me real hard today,” Greinke said. “Whatever I threw was hit. Even the outs were hit hard.”

Rod Barajas added a two-run shot for the Blue Jays, who boosted Greinke’s earned-run average from 1.10 to 1.55.

“No matter what I threw, it was just hammered,” Greinke said. “I’m not used to that. I don’t remember seeing anyone get hit that hard in a long time.”

Seeking to join Toronto’s Roy Halladay as the only nine-game winners in baseball, Greinke (8-2) was instead tagged for a season-high seven runs — five earned — and nine hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out three. The right-hander dropped to 1-4 with a 7.07 ERA in his career at Rogers Centre.

“It was kind of weird out there,” Greinke said. “It’s one thing to get hit, but everything was a line drive.

“Today, I just got crushed,” he added.

Overbay extended his hitting streak to 11 games when he lined a one-out drive to center in the second, snapping Greinke’s streak of 111 innings without allowing a home run. The last player to homer off Greinke was Oakland’s Daric Barton, who took him deep Sept. 2, 2008.

“It was bound to happen,” Greinke said of his streak being ended. “It would have been nice if it wasn’t today.”

Greinke allowed four runs — three earned — in a 7-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday and has won just one of his past four starts after winning seven of his first eight.

“He wasn’t as sharp to both sides of the plate,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “Specifically today, he needed to pitch inside a little bit more. He tried to get in there a couple of times and left it out over the plate.”

The Blue Jays were the first team to score an earned run off Greinke this season, managing two against him in an 11-3 defeat at Kansas City on April 29.

This time, they jumped all over him. Marco Scutaro doubled and scored on a two-out single by Vernon Wells in the first, Overbay homered in the second and the Blue Jays piled on with a four-run third.

Alex Rios hit an RBI double and later scored on Tony Pena’s throwing error, with Overbay capping the rally with a two-run double off the base of the wall in right.

Lind made it 7-0 with a one-out homer to left in the fifth, his ninth, and Barajas homered off reliever Juan Cruz in the eighth.

“All we really wanted to do was lay off (Greinke’s) slider,” Lind said. “If we could do that we could maybe force him into throwing some fastballs over the plate.”

The strategy worked and left Greinke scratching his head.

“If I threw a strike, they swung and hit it hard,” Greinke said. “They didn’t chase anything with two strikes. I threw some close pitches and they took them. If I threw it for a strike, they hit it.”

Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings to win for the first time since April 19.

Romero (3-2), who missed 24 games following that victory with a strained right oblique, walked two and struck out five.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Romero said. “I still have some work to do. I haven’t gotten a feel for that changeup that I had earlier in the year.”

A tiring Romero allowed all three Kansas City runs in the seventh, when Jose Guillen and Mike Jacobs hit back-to-back home runs.

Jason Frasor worked the eighth and Scott Downs finished it in the ninth for Toronto.

Notes: The Blue Jays celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first game at the former SkyDome with a partial reunion of the AL East-winning 1989 team. Including current manager Cito Gaston, 11 former players and coaches were honored on the field in the middle of the sixth. ... The Royals will call RHP Luke Hochevar up from Triple-A Omaha to start today. Hochevar (0-2, 10.80 ERA) was sent down May 23 to get work as Kansas City went with a four-man rotation because of off days. ... Blue Jays OF Alex Rios gave a pregame apology after he was caught on video yelling profanities at a fan.

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