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Blue Jays batter Greinke, Royals 7-1

TORONTO | The last thing the Royals needed Friday night, saddled with a four-game skid and facing Toronto ace Roy Halladay, was for Zack Greinke, their own emerging ace, to cough up a fur ball. But, boy, did he.

Greinke gave up six runs in the first three innings in a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. It was, by far, his worst outing in 17 starts since returning last August to the rotation.

Marco Scutaro delivered the killer blows with a pair of two-out, two-run singles. The four RBIs matched his career high. That’s the same Scutaro who had been hitless in eight previous career at-bats against Greinke.

The Royals scratched out one run in the first inning against Halladay but little else. Halladay, 5-5, yielded just four hits in a pitching his fifth complete game of the year and 36th of his career.

The victory pulled the Blue Jays back to .500 at 25-25. The Royals, their skid at five, are a season-worst six games under .500 at 21-27.

Greinke, 5-2, had not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous 16 starts, dating to last year, and had eight quality starts this season in nine outings. That included holding Toronto to one run in seven innings on April 25 at Kauffman Stadium.

The Blue Jays dominated the rematch.

Greinke allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings as his ERA jumped from 2.18 to 2.82.

Toronto’s 10-hit attack included lots of production from its three-four-five hitters, too. Alex Rios had a single and a RBI double; Scott Rolen had two singles and two walks; and Lyle Overbay had three singles and a walk. All three scored twice.

Rolen and Overbay scored both times on Scutaro’s two-run singles. The Blue Jays completed their rout by scoring once in the seventh inning against Ron Mahay.

The early support put Halladay on cruise control as he boosted his career record against the Royals to 8-3 in 13 starts. He struck out five and walked none in a tight 104-pitch performance.

Halladay also got his 116th career victory, which tied him with Jimmy Key for third place on Toronto’s all-time list. Ahead are Jim Clancy with 128 and Dave Stieb with 175.

David DeJesus opened the game with a single up the middle. He stole second, went to third on Alex Gordon’s grounder to first and scored on José Guillen’s two-out RBI single.

It was Guillen’s club-leading 35th RBI and his 20th in his last 13 games.

A good start, then. Who knew it was all the Royals would get?

Greinke rolled through the first inning on 11 pitches before finding trouble in the second. Rolen led off with a line-drive single to left and raced to third when Overbay bounced a turf single over first baseman Mark Teahen.

Kevin Mench fouled out to first, and Rolen had to hold when Gregg Zaun hit a squibber in front of the mound that moved Overbay to second.

The game turned when Scutaro lined a 2-2 fastball into center for a two-run single.

It got a lot worse in the third when the Blue Jays batted around and extended their lead to 6-1. Scutaro, again, delivered the key blow with another two-out, two-run single -- this time on a 76-mph curve on an 0-2 pitch.

Alex Rios and Overbay drove in runs earlier in the inning.

Greinke finally retired Scutaro in the fifth, with two on and two outs, on a grounder back to the mound. It was Greinke’s 93rd and last pitch of the game.

And scant consolation.

To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, call (816) 234-4352 or send email to bdutton@kcstar.com.

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