Costly miscue overshadows efficient Greinke, rally effort

April 17th, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- deserved better. That has been a popular refrain since Opening Day, and Sunday provided another example of tough luck for the Royals’ veteran right-hander.

The crafty Greinke used his assortment of pitches to slow an Atlanta offense that had scored 19 runs through the first two games of the weekend series, but a third-inning misplay in right field by loomed large as the Braves scored three runs and ultimately went on for the 5-4 victory Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Vaughn Grissom snapped a tie in the ninth inning with a game-winning RBI single to right field. 

Greinke’s line was solid -- six innings, four hits, four runs. But it could have been better if Olivares hadn’t gotten caught in between the decision to dive or not as he charged in for Matt Olson’s sinking liner with two men on. Olivares couldn’t make the catch, and failed to block the ball as it rolled past him and to the wall. Two runs scored on the play, and Olson wound up at third.

A sacrifice fly on the next at-bat gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Although the Royals fought back to tie the game on ’s two-run homer in the seventh, the Braves still had the trump card with Grissom to earn a sweep of the three-game series.

Greinke has given the Royals stability at the top of the rotation during his four starts this season, but Kansas City hasn’t been able to reward him with a victory yet.

“He was efficient,” manager Matt Quatraro said of Greinke. “Good offspeed, good movement and his velocity was [the same] as it has been. He came right after them.”

Quatraro said he didn’t have a good view of the Olson hit that rolled past Olivares and ignited the three-run Atlanta rally in the third.

“The thing that is safe to say is that it wasn’t a [legitimate] triple,” Quatraro said. “So, the extra bases obviously hurt.”

Greinke gave himself mixed reviews in analyzing his fourth start this season.

“The curve was good, the fastball was good, but the command wasn’t always perfect,” Greinke said.

The Royals were able to keep Greinke from taking a loss when Pasquantino hit his two-run homer with a 100.5 mph shot into the right-field stands off reliever Michael Tonkin. But still, the Royals wound up falling to a 1-9 record at home this season.

Pasquantino took notice of the boisterous Atlanta fans who celebrated Grissom’s clutch RBI single off Scott Barlow in the ninth.

“Showing fight was good, but we’re all disappointed in the result,” Pasquantino said. “It got real loud there with Brave fans at the end. It’s disappointing at home, but that’s on us. The Braves are known for having a good traveling fan base. To be honest, that’s something we think we can have here in Kansas City. But that’s on us. We have to show the fans we’re worth coming to watch.”

Barlow has taken a couple of losses in the past week, but Quatraro said he’s pleased with how his closer is performing.

“An inside-out base hit,” Quatraro said, reflecting on Grissom’s game-winner to the opposite field. “He’s throwing the ball fine. I have no issues with how he is throwing at all.”