White Sox held silent by KC's Greinke
Offense manages three hits; Floyd takes tough loss
CHICAGO -- Two mistakes over the course of seven innings will get Gavin Floyd a victory more often than not over the course of the 2009 campaign.
On Wednesday night, those two poorly located pitches resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Royals before 22,817 at U.S. Cellular Field in the right-hander's first start of the season. This loss can't be hung on Floyd, or anyone on the White Sox, for that matter.
Zack Greinke simply was a little too tough on this cool April evening.
"He was pretty darn good," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who had one of the club's three hits off of Greinke and two Kansas City relievers. "I mean 95 [mph], just painting, inside, outside, up and down. He had a good slider, a good curveball. That's what he can do. We've seen him like that before and he's tough."
"Greinke was outstanding," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Floyd threw the ball pretty well, but I think Greinke was better."
The White Sox had their only viable scoring threat come in the second inning, when Jim Thome drew a leadoff walk and Jermaine Dye followed with a single. But Paul Konerko grounded into a double play, from shortstop Mike Aviles to second baseman Mark Teahen to first baseman Mike Jacobs, and Pierzynski's ground ball to Jacobs ended the rally before it truly got started.
Floyd, meanwhile, retired the first eight hitters with relative ease, before back-to-back doubles from Aviles and Coco Crisp gave Kansas City a 1-0 lead. Teahen's run-scoring single scored Aviles in the fifth, providing the sum total of scoring for the night.
An instance between Carlos Quentin and Greinke with one out in the fourth stood out as the game's only real fireworks, and even this uprising didn't amount to much. Quentin was hit squarely in the back by a Greinke pitch and immediately took a couple of steps toward the mound.
Home-plate umpire Bill Hohn stepped in front of Quentin and catcher Miguel Olivo quickly restrained the slugger. Television broadcasts showed Quentin telling Olivo that he was all right, and Quentin moved down to first base.
By Greinke's estimation, it was a first-inning pitch that got away and almost hit Quentin in the head causing the residual anger three innings later.
"He had a reason for [being upset]," said Greinke of Quentin. "Any time you throw it that high, it's justified. You've got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You're going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him."
"Well, everybody that gets hit gets upset, especially when you aren't swinging the bat well and all of a sudden you get hit," Guillen said. "That's part of the game. Carlos is a guy who is going to get hit a lot because he stands on top of the plate. I don't think it was intentional."
Trailing for the second straight day heading into the eighth inning, the White Sox once again had Josh Fields leading off to start a would-be rally. But Juan Cruz succeeded where Kyle Farnsworth did not on Tuesday, hurling two perfect innings of relief, before giving way to Joakim Soria's perfect ninth.
It wasn't exactly perfection for Greinke, who walked three and struck out seven in six-plus innings. His effort still produced an ever-so-slight edge over Floyd, who struck out nine and gave up two runs on six hits over seven.
"You have to match Greinke pitch for pitch and Gavin tried," Pierzynski said. "Other than those two mistakes [Crisp's and Teahen's RBIs], what do you want Gavin to do?"
"Just look at the positives," said Floyd, who threw 56 of his 96 pitches for strikes. "I felt good and pretty confident with everything I was throwing. I felt like I was getting stronger and stronger as the game went on. So, I'm going to put this behind me and move on to the next start."
Low-scoring games often are expected in the cold early weeks for games played in the Midwest, but Pierzynski pointed out how the White Sox don't expect to get three hits and be held scoreless. On this particular evening, though, it was a collective tip of the hat to Greinke and the improved Royals as a whole.
"They got stronger," said Guillen of the Royals. "I have said that for the last couple of years and this year I said that in Spring Training. This ballclub is going to compete and they are going to give a lot of people headaches. They have a good ballclub all around."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.