Series: Game 1 of 4

Kansas City leads 1-0 (as of 9/30)

Game 1: Thursday, September 30
Tampa Bay2Final
Kansas City3
Game 2: Friday, October 1
Tampa Bay0Final
Kansas City7
Game 3: Saturday, October 2
Tampa Bay4Final
Kansas City0
Game 4: Sunday, October 3
Tampa Bay3Final
in 12
Kansas City2

Rays 2

(94-65, 45-33 away)

Royals 3

(66-93, 37-41 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 30, 2010

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 000100100 2 6 2
    KC 11100000 - 3 6 0

    W: Z. Greinke (10-14)

    L: M. Garza (15-10)

    S: J. Soria (43)

    Rays-Royals Preview


    A year ago, Zack Greinke put together a Cy Young Award-winning season. This year, he's simply hoping to finish with double-digit victories.

    The Kansas City ace looks to avoid ending a disappointing season with a third straight loss when the Royals host the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

    Greinke (9-14, 4.23 ERA) finished a career-best 16-8 with a major league-low 2.16 ERA to win the Cy Young Award in 2009. Now, he heads into his final start of 2010 with his ERA almost doubled. The right-hander has given up 13 runs in 9 2/3 innings while losing his last two starts. He allowed seven and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 7-1 loss at Cleveland on Saturday.

    "When I'm looking back at it right now, it definitely could've been better," Greinke told the Royals' official website about this season. "It's hard for me to complain about being healthy for the whole season, but it definitely would be nice to win more games and be a little bit more effective."

    Greinke, who has voiced his disappointment about the Royals' failing to do enough to avoid a seventh consecutive losing season, is 0-4 in seven starts versus Tampa Bay but has a 3.60 ERA in those games. He allowed a run and four hits in eight innings of a 1-0 loss at Tampa Bay on May 2. Greinke has received an average of 1.99 runs of support while losing four of his last five outings against the Rays.

    Though the Royals (65-93) have lost three in a row and five of six at home to the Rays, they could have some momentum after winning two of three from AL Central champion Minnesota.

    Tampa Bay (94-64) clinched its second postseason berth in three years, but has a chance to win the AL East and secure home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Despite having lost three of four, the Rays have a one-half game lead over the Yankees in the East.

    "We still have other goals in mind -- to win the division, best record and we go on from there," manager Joe Maddon told the Rays' official website.

    Tampa Bay hands the ball to Matt Garza (15-9, 3.92), who allowed one run in seven innings of a 9-1 victory over Seattle on Saturday to bounce back after he went 0-2 with a 10.93 ERA against the Red Sox and Yankees in his previous three starts.

    "Stayed in his delivery better," Maddon said. "Commanded the strike zone better."

    The right-hander is 1-4 with a 3.83 ERA in seven starts versus Kansas City. He earned that win after he yielded a run and struck out nine in six innings of an 11-1 win April 29.

    Carl Crawford, a lifetime .211 hitter against Greinke, had one of the Rays' three hits in a 2-0 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday. He is batting .431 with a homer and 13 RBIs in his last 13 road games.

    Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria has not played since suffering a left quadriceps strain last Thursday, but could see time in this series.

    Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt went 3 for 4 in the Royals' 4-2 loss to the Twins on Wednesday, but is 0 for 14 against the Rays this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     Tampa BayKansas City
    Current StreakW2L2
    Last 105-54-6

    Pitching Matchup

    Tampa BayKansas City
    M. Garza
    15-10, 3.91 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/30 at KC
    7.0 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = Loss
    Z. Greinke
    10-14, 4.17 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/30 at KC
    7.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.Tampa BayKansas City
    1. J. Jaso, C G. Blanco, RF
    2. B. Zobrist, 3B M. Aviles, 2B
    3. C. Crawford, LF B. Butler, 1B
    4. D. Johnson, DH K. Ka'aihue, DH
    5. C. Pena, 1B W. Betemit, 3B
    6. M. Joyce, RF A. Gordon, LF
    7. M. Upton Jr., CF Y. Betancourt, SS
    8. R. Brignac, 2B B. Pena, C
    9. J. Bartlett, SS J. Dyson, CF