Brewers to start Greinke three straight games

On Sunday, Zack Greinke was the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting pitcher for the second time in two days — becoming only the second pitcher to do so since 2002 — but that won’t be his most unusual feat of the week.

Greinke was ejected after only four pitches Saturday, and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Sunday morning that the team’s No. 1 starter not only would start Sunday against the Houston Astros but also will take the ball Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee’s first game after the All-Star break.

That means Greinke will start three straight Brewers games.

The last pitcher to start three consecutive games for his team was Cleveland’s Sam McDowell on Oct. 3, 1965 and April 11 and 15, 1966. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a pitcher started three straight games in one season was in 1917. Red Faber of the Chicago White Sox pitched both games of a doubleheader Sept. 13, 1917 and came back to start again Sept. 14, 1917.

The Brewers are trying to do all they can to get back into the National League Central race before they must decide whether to deal Greinke — who is 9-3 with a 3.17 ERA — ahead of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

On Saturday, after Greinke spiked a ball out of frustration following a close call at first base, he was ejected before he even registered an out. Having given up an earned run on a leadoff triple and infield single, he took the loss as Milwaukee was eventually defeated 6-3.

As a Sunday replacement for scheduled starter Marco Estrada, Greinke had notable trouble with his command to begin the game, needing 39 pitches to get through the first inning as the Astros batted around. He allowed three earned runs and issued two walks, but after settling in, Greinke finished his shortened, three-inning effort with five strikeouts in 66 pitches. Estrada replaced him in the fourth inning and pitched three scoreless and hitless innings, adding three strikeouts. Reliever Manny Parra picked up the win as the Brewers rallied for a 5-3 victory.

Known for his intense pregame preparation, Greinke was nevertheless in favor of starting a second straight game.

“It’d be a shame to completely waste a day I should be pitching,” Greinke told reporters Saturday.

On May 12, C.J. Wilson of the Los Angeles Angels became the first pitcher to start back-to-back games in 10 years after an early rain delay shut him down after 22 pitches.

In 2002, Rangers right-hander Aaron Myette started two days in a row for a similar reason to Greinke’s. He threw only two pitches before he was ejected in a game against the Baltimore Orioles.

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