Opening Day began at Kauffman Stadium Thursday like most others. The excitement, pageantry, and anticipation were all there for the KC Royals. Frank White threw out the ceremonial first pitch, several of the 1973 Royals, including White and Hall of Famer George Brett, were introduced before the game, and a sellout crowd crammed its way into The K to loyally launch another Kansas City baseball season.
Then the game began, and the Royals, who played so well so often in spring training, suddenly couldn't hit, and quietly headed for Friday's off day victims of a 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Minnesota Twins.
Blame this defeat on one of the many ailments that have plagued this club for a few years now: when starting pitching doesn't hurt them, the Royals too frequently don't hit.
Why the KC Royals lost their first game of the new season
This was a game the Royals could easily have won. Zack Greinke kept them in the contest (more on his effort momentarily), but his teammates just couldn't hit, going an ugly 2-for-27 and striking out 11 times. Newcomer Franmil Reyes fanned three times, Michael Massey and Hunter Dozier twice each.
And no Royal reached first base until Kyle Isbel walked with one away in the third. Nothing came of that free pass, however, just as MJ Melendez's leadoff walk and Salvador Perez's single went for naught an inning later when López struck out Vinnie Pasquantino and Reyes, then turned away Michael Massey on an inning-ending fly to center.
More agonizing for Kansas City, though, was the fifth, when it loaded the bases with one out. But Melendez killed the threat by hitting into a double play, the same thing he did in the eighth with a runner on.
So it was that the Royals failed to give rookie manager Matt Quatraro his first big league win and, as they did so many times in 2022, spoiled a good Zack Greinke start. Greinke, given the Opening Day nod by Quatraro to kick off his 20th major league season, pitched around some early trouble and held Minnesota basically at bay until the sixth when Byron Buxton tagged him for a leadoff triple and Trevor Larnach singled to score him.
Three batters later, Amir Garrett, on for Greinke, gave up a run-scoring single to Donovan Solano, and the Twins had all they'd get ... and all they'd need.
Greinke's line for his 557th career appearance? In 5.1 innings, Minnesota nicked him for only two runs; he walked only one and fanned four. He looked good and pitched well enough to win, but the poor run support the Royals seem to give him more often than not returned to once again deprived him of a shot at winning.
Kansas City and the Twins are off Friday before resuming their season-opening three-game series Saturday at The K. Game time is 3:10 p.m. CDT with new Kansas City rotation member Jordan Lyles scheduled to take on the Twins' Sonny Gray.