KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The losingest pitcher in the major
leagues can hardly wait to get away from it all.
With Brad Radke breaking a personal four-game losing streak and
Joe Mauer getting three hits, the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas
City Royals 5-4 Friday night and sent Zack Greinke to his major
league-high 11th loss.
"My plan is to go away for the All-Star break, get away from
Kansas City," said Greinke (1-11), who came into the season
considered the cornerstone of the Royals' youth movement.
"Maybe some good things will happen in the second half."
Greinke gave up eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings, with
two walks and two strikeouts. The 21-year-old right-hander's ERA
climbed to 6.20, and his .083 winning percentage is the worst any
Kansas City pitcher has had at the All-Star break.
But Twins center fielder Torii Hunter is still impressed with
the slender second-year pro.
"He's only 21 and that's scary," said Hunter, who had an RBI
single. "Once he learns it all, you better watch out. He's going
to be nasty. I hope he's not in this division."
If not for a poor play by Royals second baseman Ruben Gotay on a
potential inning-ending double-play grounder, Greinke might be
celebrating his second win instead.
Trailing 3-2 with one out in the sixth, the Twins got an RBI
single from Lew Ford, which also put runners at the corners. Justin
Morneau hit a hard grounder straight to Gotay.
But he fumbled the ball and had time only to throw to first for
one out. Jacque Jones scored on the play, then Luis Rodriguez
singled into right for the fifth Twins run. There was no error on
the play since official scorers cannot assume a double play.
"That was a rocket," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That
was a missile, a tough play. I know it was right at him and it
looks routine, but he hit the living daylights out of that ball.
The ball took a little bad hop on him and bounced off him. He got
one but he couldn't get two and we got a little bit lucky there,
Gotay said there were no excuses.
"I just missed it," he said. "There's going to be one time in
the year when I miss one like that and unfortunately it was
Radke (6-8) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings and
got his first road win. The right-hander had lost four straight
starts for the first time in four years, and was getting an average
of fewer than two runs of support in that span.
"It feels good to get my first road win of the year," he said.
"It took a while. I made a few mistakes but the team picked me up
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 27 chances,
including 12th in a row.
Greinke refused to blame Gotay's missed play.
"That stuff happens every game," he said. "Good pitchers will
get out of it by making another good pitch or getting the next guy
out, or not even getting them get into that situation in the first
Mike Sweeney, after sitting out a game with a sore wrist, had
three hits and two RBI for the Royals, whose three-game winning
streak was snapped.
Mauer and Hunter hit back-to-back RBI singles for the Twins in
the third, but the Royals cut it to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning
when Shane Costa doubled leading off and scored on Sweeney's
Sweeney's RBI single off Juan Rincon in the seventh made it 5-4.
Sweeney doubled off the center field wall in the fifth and
brought a roar of laughter from the crowd when he went crashing
into second covering his head with both hands, fearful that
Hunter's throw was going to hit him on the head.
"The ball was in the lights and I thought it was going to hit
me in the face," he said. "I was trying to avoid the ball, the
fielder and touch the base."
Radke leads Twins pitchers with five hit batsmen. ... The
Twins are 4-8 in their last 12 road games. ... Berroa singled with
one out in eighth but was out at second on a throw from right
fielder Jones, who had bobbled the ball momentarily. Berroa has
four straight multihit games.