Right now, the Royals have all of the answers except one. How do they get more interleague games on their schedule?
They continued their rampage through the National League on Tuesday with a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Kauffman Stadium. That makes 11 victories in 14 games against NL opponents.
That’s the best interleague record in the majors. Too bad the Royals have only four more games against NL clubs before returning to American League competition.
Zack Greinke improved to 7-4 by matching a career high with 10 strikeouts in his six innings. The Royals backed him with all sorts of timely hitting, including a two-run homer by Alex Gordon that blunted a Colorado comeback.
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The Royals, 35-43, have now won four in a row and nine of their last 10. Rookie infielder Mike Aviles remained on a hitting tear with two more singles and raised his average to .352.
Miguel Olivo, David DeJesus, Ross Gload and Aviles each contributed RBI singles to an attack that mustered eight hits _ just eight but most were well-timed.
Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa, the ex-Royal, was in top form at the outset. He retired the first 10 hitters before Aviles worked a one-out walk in the fourth. This was the dominant De La Rosa the Royals saw only occasionally throughout 2006 and 2007.
But the Royals got to De La Rosa, 2-4, for one run in the fourth before knocking him out in a three-run fifth. So he gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Two runs were unearned. He struck out four and walked three.
That was familiar.
Greinke opened the game with four scoreless innings but couldn’t produce shutdown frames after the Royals scored.
He yielded one run in the fifth after the Royals scored in the fourth; and he gave up two in the sixth after the Royals’ three-run fifth. Even so, he handed a 5-3 lead to the bullpen in the seventh.
The bullpen, for the second straight day, closed out the victory without calling on closer Joakim Soria. Ron Mahay pitched around a two-out error by Gordon in the seventh. Ramon Ramirez worked the final two innings in a non-save situation.
A scary moment occurred in the Royals’ second. Olivo shattered his bat on an 0-1 fastball, and the jagged top pinwheeled behind him and into umpire Brian O’Nora, who grabbed the left side of his forehead.
The play resulted in a grounder to short for the second out as O’Nora staggered to the ground with blood gushing from the cut. He was helped to the side of the Royals’ dugout for treatment.
O’Nora left the game, was treated for the cut in the Royals’ clubhouse and taken to St. Luke’s Hospital for further examination.
First-base umpire Paul Nauert replaced O’Nora behind the plate after a 13-minute delay. The game concluded with a three-man crew.
The Royals scored first after Aviles drew that walk in the fourth, thanks to a bizarre two-base throwing error by second baseman Clint Barmes. Gordon followed the walk with a low liner to short, which Troy Tulowitzki caught and flipped to Barmes as Aviles retreated to first.
Barmes looped a wild throw to first which sailed into the stands. The automatic two-base error sent Aviles to third. José Guillen followed with a walk _ his first walk since May 15.
Olivo then pulled an RBI single through the left side.
The Rockies answered immediately with one run on three singles in the fifth before the Royals pushed out to a 4-1 lead later in the inning. DeJesus and Aviles delivered RBI singles.
Greinke gave back two runs in the sixth. Matt Holliday led off with a homer, and Brad Hawpe later hit an RBI double but helped curtail the rally by getting thrown out in attempting to stretch it into a triple.
The Royals countered with one run in the sixth when Tony Peňa beat a double-play relay to first on a slow hopper to the pitcher with runners on first and third.
Gordon’s homer in the seventh against Justin Speier closed the scoring.