Zack Greinke trudged stoically off the Kauffman Stadium mound where he first made a name for himself, the cascade of boos growing louder with every step toward the dugout.
Evidently, few Royals fans have forgotten the sour way Greinke left town.
"I was pretty rude on the way out. They have every right to be mad at me," he acknowledged Monday night, after Kansas City pounded Greinke in a 5-3 victory over his Los Angeles Dodgers. "I don't want to be rude. I felt I had to be in order to get traded and I wanted to get traded."
The Royals finally dealt Greinke to Milwaukee in December 2010, unloading a talented pitcher who had become known as moody and difficult for a package of players that included Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain — both of whom drove in runs against him Monday night.
This wasn't the first time Grienke (9-4) had faced his former team, either. He allowed two runs over 15 1-3 innings in two other starts, one with the Brewers and the other with the Angels.
"It's weird. I pitched good the last time I was here and they cheered. I pitched good the first time and they cheered," Greinke said. "This time they cheered when they announced my team. And when I give up the runs they booed, so I don't know."
Meanwhile, the Royals' Jeremy Guthrie (5-6) allowed two runs over 7 2-3 innings while winning his third straight start. He was buoyed by an offense that had only scored eight runs total during a four-game losing streak — No. 9 hitter Jarrod Dyson went 3 for 3 and stole two bases, and hot-hitting catcher Salvador Perez belted a solo home run.
Greg Holland served up a homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth but rebounded to earn his 22nd save. Hanley Ramirez drove in the other two runs for the Dodgers, who are visiting Kansas City for the first time since they were swept in a three-game set in 2005.
"It's a funny game. You go against a guy like Zack Greinke who's had so much success this year," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We strung some hits together along with some outstanding pitching we've had the last five or six starts, it's a big win for us tonight."
The Royals pounded Greinke almost from the start, Perez belting the first pitch of the second inning over the wall in left field for a 1-0 lead. Then with two outs, Escobar singled and went to second on a wild pitch before heading home when Dyson dumped a single into left field.
Dyson made it 3-0 in the fifth when he scored on Cain's single to right.
The Royals finally knocked Greinke from the game in the fifth, this time after Perez started the inning with a double. Greinke fought back to get two outs, but Escobar hit a triple into the right-field corner and Dyson tacked on another RBI single to make it 5-0.
"Times when he's rolling, he's getting the ball where he wants," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I think tonight he was trying to get to one spot and not getting there. That's usually not him. I don't think he's been extremely sharp for three or four starts actually, but he's still been good. When Zack gets rolling, it's different."
While Greinke was booed off the mound, Guthrie was earning a standing ovation.
The right-hander faced the minimum number of hitters through four innings, needing just four pitches in the second and five in the fourth. Gonzalez and Matt Kemp finally hit consecutive singles to start the fifth, but Guthrie calmly wiggled out of that jam.
It wasn't until Miguel Rojas and Justin Turner hit singles and Ramirez one-hopped a double over the outfield wall to make it 5-2 in the eighth that Guthrie finally left the game.
Wade Davis finished the inning, and Holland cleaned up the ninth to preserve the win.
"There was never any panic," Guthrie said of the Royals' four-game slide. "We lost a couple of close games. We recognize a couple things go our way we would have won a couple of them."
NOTES: LHP Clayton Kershaw was the NL player of the week after his no-hitter against Colorado. He starts for Los Angeles on Tuesday against Royals LHP Danny Duffy. ... Kemp extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... The Dodgers had won seven straight interleague games.