KC Royals: Zack Greinke shuts down Detroit, but bullpen couldn't

Despite Greinke's fine work, Kansas City lost Tuesday night.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Will KC Royals pitcher Zack Greinke retire after his club's 2023 season ends Sunday afternoon?

So far, Greinke isn't saying. And if the Royals know, they aren't telling.

But if how he pitched against Detroit in Kansas City's 6-3 loss at Comerica Park Tuesday night is any indication, there might be just enough left in his tank to at least tempt Greinke to consider coming back next year for a 21st big league season.

Detroit had no answer for KC Royals hurler Zack Greinke Tuesday evening

Making his 26th start of the campaign and 540th of his career, Greinke threw the Tigers 75 pitches, only one of which, a first-inning fastball to leadoff man Parker Meadows, they managed to hit safely. Greinke promptly picked Meadows off, then retired 10 in a row before issuing a two-out walk — the only free pass he gave up — to Spencer Torkelson in the fourth. Greinke then retired the next four Tigers in a row before giving way to rookie Anthony Veneziano to begin the sixth.

Understating the obvious is that Greinke pitched well enough to win for only the second time in a season that for him has been so brutal (1-15, 5.18 ERA. After allowing leadoff man Parker Meadows a first-inning single, Greinke retired 10 Tigers in a row before Spencer Torkelson worked him for a two-out walk in the fourth. Greinke didn't allow another runner before KC manager Matt Quatraro turned the game and a 2-0 lead over to rookie Anthony Veneziano to begin the sixth.

And he completed five innings for the first time since Aug. 1, didn't allow a run, and struck out five for the second straight game.

But while he was good, the bullpen wasn't, and the Royals suffered for it. After registering a strike with his first big league pitch, Veneziano gave up a two-run double that tied the game 2-2. Collin Snider pitched a scoreless seventh but Taylor Clarke, working the eighth, coughed up back-to-back solo homers to Akil Badoo and Meadows, and RBI singles to Andy Ibañez and Zack McKinstry, to give Detroit a lead it didn't relinquish.

The Royals scored exclusively on one-run singles — Nick Pratto's in the second inning, Salvador Perez's in the sixth, and Nick Loftin's in the ninth. Bobby Witt Jr., striving for some big offensive numbers to complete his second major league season, collected his 10th triple in the sixth.

Will Zack Greinke pitch again for the KC Royals this season?

It certainly looks that way. Greinke, per MLB.com Royals beat writer Anne Rogers, is slated to start against the Yankees Sunday in Kansas City's season finale. And whether Quatraro will also put a bat in his hands before or on Sunday remains a big question — Greinke, always a fan of hitting, needs one home run and one stolen base to reach 10 for his career in both categories.

The Royals and Tigers play the second contest of this three-game series Wednesday beginning at 5:40 p.m. CDT.

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