Greinke’s sharp tricks help Royals edge past Angels 7-0

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by Dave Skretta AP Sports Editor

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Zack Greinke is coming to the point in his career where it seems almost every start brings with it some sort of record, even ones the former Cy Young winner never expected to see.

Like his name climbing up the career strikeout list.

Hardly known for his irresistible tricks, Greinke nonetheless entered the top 20 on Monday night while combining with four Kansas City Royals relievers to hold the Los Angeles Angels to five hits in a 7-0 victory.

“It’s crazy. I’ve never really thought about any of this, but it’s been interesting for the last two starts,” said Greinke, 38, who is nearing the end of his 19th major league season. “I never really thought about it.”

Greinke scattered three hits in five innings before giving the ball to Amir Garrett (2-1), who worked around a double in the sixth. Jose Cuas handled seventh, Scott Barlow eighth and Josh Staumont finished ninth.

All the support came after Greinke left: Michael A. Taylor drove in three runs, Emmanuel Rivera drove in on a four-run seventh, and MJ Melendez capped the rout with a two-run homer in the eighth.

Noah Syndergaard (5-8) of the Angels went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

“Deserved a better fate,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.

Now, the Royals will attempt their first four-game winning streak of the season on Tuesday night.

“We’re playing better baseball,” Royals manager Mike Matheny admitted. “You see these pieces coming together.”

It started with Greinke on Monday night. He navigated a Whit Merrifield error in the first, rounded Shohei Ohtani’s brace in the third and knocked out Luis Rengifo for the final of the fourth. Along the way, Greinke hit Andrew Velazquez for his 2,856th strikeout, moving him past Jim Bunning and into the top 20 on the career list.

“It’s just amazing that he’s still able to retire at the major league level the way he does,” Garrett said. “The game is not going to push him out. When he wants to be done with the game, he will be done.

Ohtani’s brace came moments after he fouled his leg and needed several minutes to recover.

Syndergaard also dodged trouble for five innings, leaving the riders in scoring position in four of them. But the Royals finally caught up with him in the sixth, when Taylor threw a two-out single to break up a scoreless game.

The Royals added four more points to Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera, thanks in part to an error and two wild throws, before Melendez pulled deep past Austin Warren to put the game out of reach.

“Just one kind of guy after another,” Matheny said. “It was a big overdue effort.”

REVERSED THIRD (TWICE)

The Royals’ Nicky Lopez thought he had a starting triple in the fifth when Jo Adell failed to catch his fly ball to left field, but the call was overruled after review and ruled a foul ball. Then in the sixth, the Angels’ Jared Walsh attempted to reach third on an outfielder’s pick and was initially deemed safe before a review again overturned the call.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: CF Mike Trout (inflamed ribs), who was eligible to be off the injured list on Monday, remained on it after his cortisone shot in his back last week. “Progress as we think. Basically, it’s a lot of rest right now as we manage our way through his IL days,” Nevin said. “It’s more of an everyday affair.”

Royals: C Salvador Perez (thumb surgery) will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday. “It’s been pretty strong here for a while,” Matheny said. “Looking at everything he does, he feels good.” … INF Bobby Witt Jr. was out of the lineup Monday after honing his hamstrings over the weekend.

UP NEXT Angles LHP Jose Suarez (1-4, 5.60) ERA) starts Tuesday night as the Royals plan to bring LHP Angel Zerpa (2-0, 1.29) back from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to take the mound.

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