KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Zach Greinke gave up only one run on four hits in his 500th career start, allowing the Kansas City Royals to avoid a three-game sweep by beating the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Wednesday.
Kyle Isbel of Kansas City provided the winning cushion with his second homerun in as many games.
Greinke (2-4) is the 48th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to start 500 games and the only active pitcher to reach that milestone. He was subdued after the game, as usual, but acknowledged the importance of the day.
“There aren’t many numbers I’m interested in, but I found that out after the last game. I think that’s a pretty nice number. It seems like a lot of games,” said Greinke, who hit six innings and struckout three. and a walk.
Royals manager Mike Matheny was more impressed.
“Trying to get your head around 500 starts, that’s just awesome,” he said. “You just won’t see a lot of people moving forward who can do something like that and do it as well as he did it.”
Three Royals relievers combined three strikeouts and one basehit gave up more than three innings, and Scott Barlow grabbed his 10th save in 12 chances with a perfect ninth inning.
Texas’ Dane Dunning (1-6) suffered his first loss when he gave up less than three runs this season. He gave up six hits in six innings, walked three and struckout three.
The Royals scored a run in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by MJ Melendez. Hunter Dozier was thrown out at the plate trying to make it 2-0.
The Rangers’ Leody Taveras tied it in the fifth with a leadoff homerun that just passed the wall in rightfield. It was his first homer of the season.
Isbel answered that with his second homerun of the season, a line drive to the right field seats.
“I feel like I’m making good decisions on the record,” Isbel said. “I’ve changed a few swings, but the most important thing is hitting throws that I can handle.”
Drafted sixth in the first round of the 2002 draft, Greinke spent his first seven years with the Royals, returning last outdoor season on a one-year deal.
“I thought I threw well and got a really good defense today,” he said of his 500th start. “And Isbel played a very good game, defensively and hitting. It was a good game today.”
Rangers 3B Josh Smith was back in the lineup after leaving Tuesday’s game with a bruise to the right calf after throwing a ball off his leg.
The Rangers open a three-game series in New York against the Mets; the starting pitchers have not been determined.