Kansas City ace Zack Greinke pitched the first perfect game of the 2010 season last night, and the first of his career, setting all 27 Chicago White Sox batters in order. Greinke also struck out 13 batters in the Royals loss to fall to 0-4 on the season.
"It's tough to keep losing like this," said Greinke, who entered the game with a 2.27 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. "But I'm trying not to get down. I just have to go out my next start and do better."
Greinke's teammates apologized for their continued lack of run support for the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. Kansas City had scored 12 runs in Greinke's six starts so far this season. That number dropped to 11 runs following last night's game.
"We just can't seem to string any hits together when he's on the mound," said Royals manager Trey Hillman. "It's just one of those things. Tonight was a great example. We had a guy on second with no outs in the third and didn't score, and we also had the bases loaded in the fifth with one out and didn't score. And then, of course, was the negative-run seventh inning, which really hurt."
The negative-run inning was a first in major league history. It's still unclear exactly what happened, but Royals third baseman Alex Gordon was at the plate and did something so incredibly awful that both teams agreed that Kansas City should be deducted a run.
"I didn't argue the decision," said Hillman. "Even for Alex it was pretty bad. It's a new low for him. Hopefully this is the bottom and it's only uphill for him from here."
The Royals hope the same for Greinke.
"I'd like to win a game this season. I really would," said Greinke. "That's my goal for the season: win one game. I think I deserve the right to be put into the lineup on the nights I pitch. I want a chance to help my own cause. I hit .279 my senior year in high school, you know. That's better than anyone else on this team can say."
Thirteen-year-old Tim Harper’s lifetime dream was to pitch for the Kansas City Royals. Yesterday, against the Detroit Tigers, he got his wish and then some.
The Branson, Missouri, native, who was struck with leukemia two years ago, had requested through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to throw out the first pitch at a Royals game. After the pitch landed a few feet in front of home plate, Royals manager Trey Hillman decided that was good enough for him, and left scheduled starter Zack Greinke in the bullpen.
“Our scouts were really impressed with the kid’s mechanics, and we made the decision to leave him in," said Hillman. "It might’ve landed a couple of feet in front of the mound, but believe me, that was the most impressive pitching we’ve seen this year. Our guns hadn’t topped 24 mph all spring for anyone other than Zack, so it was refreshing to see someone with a live arm out there. We need more like this kid.”
A confused Harper took the mound in the bottom of the first against a potent Tigers lineup, and proceeded to give up 13 runs to the first 13 batters he faced. But Hillman was adamant that his new pitcher get out of his own jam.
“It was a learning experience, something every young pitcher goes through," said the Royals skipper.
The Tigers went on to score 36 more runs before the manager decided to bring in reliever Roman Colon, who proceeded to give up an additional 28 runs before closing out the inning on a pop fly.
During the post-game press conference, Hillman was asked whether this was merely a stunt to keep people attending the game interested in an otherwise boring game.
“Not at all. I mean, this isn’t some Disney movie," he said. "This kid is literally one of the best pitchers we have on our squad, and I am not kidding. You guys haven’t seen the rest of our staff. It’s really, really, really, horrible.”
Harper expressed disappointment over his outing.
"If only I hadn't lost my throwing arm to the disease, I think I could have done a lot better," he said. "But I could tell the guys were excited to have me on the team."
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today: Kansas City Royals (2009: 65-97, T-last in AL Central)