TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Zack Greinke was far more pleased with his first start than with the three innings he threw for the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.
Nonetheless, he extended his scoreless streak this spring to six consecutive innings, allowing two hits in that stretch.
Greinke, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, threw 51 pitches - 31 for strikes - to help the Royals to a 5-0 victory Wednesday. He gave up a first-pitch double to Troy Tulowitkzi with two out in the first and allowed two runners to reach base in the third on an error and a walk.
``It still wasn't as sharp as the game before,' said Greinke, referring to the 27 pitches he threw in three innings Friday against Texas. ``It was a little chilly out and it just was hard to get loose. So everything wasn't as crisp.'
Greinke is on schedule for his Opening Day start April 5 against the Detroit Tigers. It will be the first start in a season opener for Greinke, and he won't see the Tigers this spring since they train in Lakeland, Fla.
``I think it works to the pitcher's advantage a little bit,' Greinke said. ``The first time a hitter sees you, it's tougher on the pitcher than the hitter.'
Greinke said he's not thinking about the Tigers at this point. His focus is on pitching well now.
``Still not there but it's better than it usually is this time of the spring,' Greinke said. ``Fastball command has been pretty good. It has some good life on it, but mainly the changeup's way better than it usually is this time of the year. Secondary pitches are usually bad early on in spring.'
Greinke said he threw one slider and no curveballs against the Rockies.
Jeff Francis made his second start for Colorado after missing the 2009 season following shoulder surgery. In his first spring start Friday, he allowed four hits, two walks and four runs in two innings.
Francis held the Royals scoreless for three innings, throwing 27 of 42 pitches for strikes and allowing two first-inning singles, and a leadoff walk in the third.
``Much better than the last time ,' Francis said, ``and I felt like I could feel the ball out front and get the ball to the plate on a good angle and keep it down for the most part.'
The Associated Press News Service
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