Royals 3, Angels 2

Zack Greinke threw 109 pitches in holding the Kansas Royals

scoreless for 8 1-3 innings.

Ernesto Frieri then needed just four pitches to ruin Greinke’s

spectacular outing and hurt the Los Angeles Angels’ playoff

hopes.

Billy Butler hit a two-run homer and Salvador Perez followed

with the game-winner as the Royals rallied to hand the Los Angeles

Angels a stunning 3-2 loss on Saturday night.

Frieri (3-1) replaced Greinke with one out in the ninth after

Alex Gordon singled. Butler homered to center on Frieri’s first

pitch to tie it. Three pitches later, Perez hit a flyball off the

left-field pole for his first career walkoff homer.

”This ballpark can play funny sometimes,” Butler said. ”I

knew that one was gone. We knew we were looking for a fastball. I

told Sal on deck, `You’d better not be late’ and neither of us was

late.”

All Greinke could do was watch the dramatic turn of events.

”It was pretty amazing,” Greinke said. ”I don’t think I’ve

ever seen back-to-back homers to walk off like that. I don’t know

if it’s ever happened. You don’t see that I think ever.

”It’s part of baseball,” Greinke added. ”Ernie’s got a great

fastball. Butler is a good fastball hitter. Yesterday he got it by

them. He threw his best pitch to both of those guys and it just

didn’t work out.”

Greinke gave up just five singles, walked two and struck out

three in 8 1-3 innings. He has allowed seven runs and 24 hits in 37

innings for a 1.70 ERA in his past five starts.

Greinke, who has thrown up to 118 pitches in a game this year

and at least 103 pitches in all 10 of his Angels starts, said he

could have finished.

”Yeah, but I mean I’m not going to second guess,” Greinke

said. ”I think he’s (Mike Scioscia) probably the best manager in

baseball at least from the outside looking in and so far being

here. He’s smarter than me.”

Greinke has not pitched a complete game since 2009 when he won

the American League Cy Young Award while with the Royals.

”We were getting to that point where I wanted to give them a

different look,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on pulling

Greinke. ”Obviously it didn’t work. Zack was getting near 110

pitches. Ernie just hit a couple of bats with fastballs. He left

them up, middle in and those guys didn’t miss them.”

The Angels entered the day 2 1/2 games back of Baltimore and New

York for the second wild-card spot in the AL

”Anytime you lose a game late it’s a heavier page to turn, but

we have to come out tomorrow,” Scioscia said. ”We’re at the point

in the season where everything changes, inning to inning, pitch to

pitch.”

Kendrys Morales, who homered for the second straight game, hit

an 0-1 pitch from Jeremy Guthrie to right leading off the Angels’

fifth for the first run.

Guthrie, who was 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his previous seven

starts, faced the minimum number of batters the first four innings.

He gave up a fourth inning leadoff single to Mike Trout, but picked

him off first. Guthrie left after eight innings, allowing two runs

on five hits.

”I thought early my fastball was good,” Guthrie said. ”I left

a fastball up to Morales, but I got some groundballs and we played

good defense. The majority of your games are against tough lineups.

When you go up against that you anticipate a dog fight.”

Kelvin Herrera (3-3) replaced Guthrie and picked up the win with

a scoreless ninth.

Greinke, who was acquired from Milwaukee in a trade on July 27

trade, pitched out of a first inning jam.

Alcides Escobar, who had two of the hits off Greinke, singled

with one out to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11

games. Escobar advanced to third on Gordon’s groundball single to

right.

Escobar was out at the plate when he attempted to score on

Butler’s grounder to third baseman Alberto Callaspo. Perez’s

grounder to Callaspo ended the inning and threat.

The Angels added a run in the eighth, when Vernon Wells led off

with a single and advanced to third on two groundball outs. After

Trout walked, Torii Hunter laced a run-scoring single to right that

Francoeur apparently lost in the lights as it glanced off the heel

of his glove. Hunter leads the American League with a .349 average

since the All-Star break and has 16 RBIs in his past 17 games.

NOTES: RHP Ervin Santana might be pushed back a few days in the

Angels rotation after being struck in the arm by Josh Donaldson’s

liner in Wednesday’s start against Oakland. ”Ervin just got smoked

on the forearm,” Scioscia said. ”We might take a couple of days

with him. Ervin’s going to get the ball; he’s going to pitch. It’s

set him back a little bit as to when he’s going to throw his `pen.

He’ll throw a couple of light things. He’ll probably throw this

weekend and then we’ll see where he is.” . Royals 2B Johnny

Giavotella committed two errors. The Royals had committed just five

errors in their previous 18 games. .This series closes Sunday with

the Royals starting rookie LHP Will Smith, who pitched seven

scoreless innings Tuesday in a victory at Minnesota. RHP Dan Haren

will start for the Angels.