Published November 20, 2014
Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke returns to Kansas City to face his former team Saturday when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim visit the Royals in game two of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
A 28-year-old, Greinke was drafted sixth overall by the Royals in 2002 and debuted with them in 2004 before slowing working his way to the upper echelon of American League pitchers.
He reached the pinnacle with Kansas City in 2009, when he captured the AL Cy Young after posting a 16-8 record with a stingy 2.16 earned run average across 229 1/3 innings and 33 starts.
He won 10 games in 33 starts with the Royals the following season before a trade to Milwaukee in a six-player deal in December 2010. He won 16 games in his initial season with the Brewers and nine more this year before heading to the Angels for three players in late July.
Nine starts with Los Angeles have yielded five wins and a 4.15 ERA - including four wins in his last four starts while he's surrendered just six runs on 19 hits in 28 2/3 innings.
Greinke faced the Royals for the lone time in his career on June 12 with Milwaukee and emerged with a no-decision after allowing a run on six hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings.
Kansas City won the game, 2-1.
The hosts go with veteran righty Jeremy Guthrie, who makes his 180th career start and aims for a fifth consecutive victory.
The 33-year-old - also a first-round draft pick back in 2002 - was just 3-12 with a 6.56 ERA after a 5-3 loss to Texas on Aug. 3, but has since gone 4-0 in seven outings while trimming his ERA down to 5.06.
Guthrie also began the season in the National League with Colorado before heading to Kansas City for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez on July 20.
He's 3-3 in nine career outings against then Angels.
On Friday, pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and Mike Trout scored the go-ahead run later in the frame as the Angels defeated the Royals, 9-7.
Trout and Erick Aybar followed Morales' two-out, two-run blast with consecutive singles before Tim Collins (5-3) hit Albert Pujols to load the bases. Jeremy Jeffress then walked Torii Hunter on five pitches to push across the go-ahead run.
Jordan Walden (3-2) recorded the final out of the seventh to earn the win and Scott Downs stranded Jeff Francoeur at second base in the eighth before Kole Calhoun's ninth-inning RBI groundout capped the scoring.
Ernesto Frieri held Kansas City off the board in the bottom half to pick up his 19th save of the season.
Howie Kendrick had a two-run double and Alberto Callaspo singled home a pair in the fourth inning for the Angels, who are 2 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles for the final AL Wild Card spot.
"We went out there and battled those guys and they are really trying to be spoilers right now," Kendrick said. "You just can't give up and we didn't."
The teams split their initial six games of 2012, with the Royals taking two of three in Anaheim in April before the Angels took two of three there in July. Kansas City won the 2011 series, seven games to three.