MIAMI | Say this: When José Guillen heats up, he heats up. Guillen remained white hot Sunday afternoon by driving in four runs with a two-run double and a two-run homer in leading the Royals to a 9-3 victory over the Florida Marlins.
Plus, Guillen threw out a runner at the plate in the sixth inning that blunted a Florida comeback before the Royals put the game away with a three-run seventh.
All on a bad right hip that continues to limit his speed and mobility.
Guillen is 19 for 38 in his last 10 games with two homers, eight doubles and 15 RBIs. His average is up to .245 -- an 80-point jump during his surge. He terrorized the Marlins over the last three games by going six for 12 with eight RBIs.
It wasn’t just Guillen, of course. The Royals matched a season high with 14 hits, including two from American League batting leader Mark Grudzielanek, who raised his average to .331.
Miguel Olivo had a pair of doubles and finished the weekend with four extra-base hits against his former team. Mark Teahen hit his first homer since April 3. Zack Greinke even had two hits -- something no Royals pitcher has done since Steve Busby had three on Sept. 20, 1972 at California.
The Royals won for the sixth time in seven games and improved to 21-22. They ensured themselves of being no further than two games out of first place in the American League Central when all of Sunday’s games concluded.
Greinke improved to 5-1 but labored at times in throwing 94 pitches in the mid-90s heat. He gave up three runs and nine hits while striking out five and walking one. It was his eighth quality start in nine outings but his ERA jumped from 1.93 to 2.18.
Jimmy Gobble worked two scoreless innings before Yasuhiko Yabuta pitched the ninth.
Florida starter Burke Badenhop, 1-3, gave up six runs in just three innings, although a throwing error by third baseman Jorge Cantu played a key role in a four-run third.
Guillen got the Royals started by hammering a two-run double into the gap in the first inning after singles by David DeJesus and Alex Gordon.
The Royals extended their lead to 6-0 in the third.
Grudzielanek led off with a bloop single to center before Gordon walked. Guillen hit a slow roller to third that Cantu threw away. Both runners scored on the error, and Guillen wound up on second.
Guillen appeared in pain at second after, apparently, aggravating his sore hip. He remained in the game after a brief visit from trainer Nick Swartz and manager Trey Hillman.
Teahen followed with a two-run homer, a 384-foot blast to left that enabled Guillen to shuffle home with minimal exertion. Teahen’s homer was just his second of the season and broke a streak of 140 at-bats without one since April 3.
That figured to plenty, right? With Greinke on the mound?
Florida made it interesting.
Greinke ran into trouble after Luis Gonzalez opened the Florida third with a bloop double to right. Matt Treanor followed with a single off Greinke’s glove before pinch-hitter Robert Andino loaded with bases with a four-pitch walk.
Even so, Greinke should have escaped unscathed. He induced a popup from Alfredo Amezaga and a double-play grounder from Jeremy Hermida. But shortstop Tony Peña, with plenty of time, threw wildly to first.
So the Royals settled for one out as a run scored. First baseman Billy Butler saved another run by coming off the base to corral Peña’s throw. Greinke prevented further damage by striking out Hanley Ramirez.
The Marlins closed to 6-2 when Mike Jacobs opened the fourth with a home run. Cantu served a one-out single to right, but he was slow in returning to first after round the base _ and was thrown out as Teahen barehanded the ball and made a snap throw.
But Florida kept coming while the Royals did little against relievers Doug Waechter and Taylor Tankersley. Ramirez opened the sixth with a single and scored on Dan Uggla’s one-out double.
Gonzalez then poked a two-out single through the left side, but Guillen threw out Uggla at the plate to keep the score at 6-3.
The Royals, finally, roused themselves in the seventh by scoring three runs in the seventh against Logan Kensing, the winner in Saturday’s game.
Grudzielanek led off with a single, and Guillen boomed a two-run homer. Walks to Teahen and Butler finished Kensing, but Miguel Olivo pulled an RBI double into the left-field corner against Justin Miller for a 9-3 lead.