KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The losingest pitcher in the major leagues can hardly wait to get away from it all.
With Brad Radke breaking a personal four-game losing streak and Joe Mauer getting three hits, the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Friday night and sent Zack Greinke to his major league-high 11th loss.
"My plan is to go away for the All-Star break, get away from Kansas City," said Greinke (1-11), who came into the season considered the cornerstone of the Royals' youth movement.
"Maybe some good things will happen in the second half."
Greinke gave up eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. The 21-year-old right-hander's ERA climbed to 6.20, and his 0.83 winning percentage is the worst any Kansas City pitcher has had at the All-Star break.
But Twins center fielder Torii Hunter is still impressed with the slender second-year pro.
"He's only 21 and that's scary," said Hunter, who had an RBI single. "Once he learns it all, you better watch out. He's going to be nasty. I hope he's not in this division."
If not for a poor play by Royals second baseman Ruben Gotay on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder, Greinke might be celebrating his second win instead.
But he fumbled the ball and had time only to throw to first for one out. Jacque Jones scored on the play, then Luis Rodriguez singled into right for the fifth Twins run. There was no error on the play since official scorers cannot assume a double play.
"That was a rocket," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That was a missile, a tough play. I know it was right at him and it looks routine, but he hit the living daylights out of that ball. The ball took a little bad hop on him and bounced off him. He got one but he couldn't get two and we got a little bit lucky there, yeah."
Gotay said there were no excuses.
"I just missed it," he said. "There's going to be one time in the year when I miss one like that and unfortunately it was tonight."
Radke (6-8) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings and got his first road win. The right-hander had lost four straight starts for the first time in four years, and was getting an average of fewer than two runs of support in that span.
"It feels good to get my first road win of the year," he said. "It took a while. I made a few mistakes but the team picked me up today."
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 27 chances, including 12th in a row.
Greinke refused to blame Gotay's missed play.
"That stuff happens every game," he said. "Good pitchers will get out of it by making another good pitch or getting the next guy out, or not even getting them get into that situation in the first place."
Mike Sweeney, after sitting out a game with a sore wrist, had three hits and two RBIs for the Royals, whose three-game winning streak was snapped.
Mauer and Hunter hit back-to-back RBI singles for the Twins in the third, but the Royals cut it to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning when Shane Costa doubled leading off and scored on Sweeney's single.
Mark Teahen and Angel Berroa singled with one out in the fourth and scored on a double by John Buck, giving the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Sweeney's RBI single off Juan Rincon in the seventh made it 5-4.
Sweeney doubled off the center field wall in the fifth and brought a roar of laughter from the crowd when he went crashing into second covering his head with both hands, fearful that Hunter's throw was going to hit him on the head.
"The ball was in the lights and I thought it was going to hit me in the face," he said. "I was trying to avoid the ball, the fielder and touch the base."
|Torii Hunter's single in the third inning drives home Twins teammate Nick Punto. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Shannon Stewart, LF||5||1||0||0||0||1||3||.291|
|Nick Punto, 2B||4||1||1||0||1||0||0||.284|
|Joe Mauer, C||5||1||3||1||0||0||1||.303|
|Torii Hunter, CF||4||0||1||1||1||0||1||.275|
|Jacque Jones, RF||4||1||1||0||1||1||5||.261|
|Lew Ford, DH||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.269|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||0||0||1||0||1||1||.265|
|Luis Rodriguez, 3B||4||0||2||1||0||1||0||.287|
|Juan Castro, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||1||.239|
|2B - Luis Rodriguez (6, Affeldt)|
|3B - Nick Punto (3, Wood)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer (32), Torii Hunter (54), Lew Ford (34), Justin Morneau (44), Luis Rodriguez (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer (10), Torii Hunter (18), Luis Rodriguez (2)|
|SB - Luis Rodriguez (2, 3rd base off Affeldt/Buck)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Jacque Jones 1|
|Brad Radke (W,6-8)||6.1||9||4||4||1||1||0||4.15|
|Juan Rincon (H,14)||1.2||2||0||0||0||0||0||2.61|
|Joe Nathan (S,25)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.38|
|HBP - DeJesus (by Brad Radke)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brad Radke 93-65, Juan Rincon 20-12, Joe Nathan 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Radke 8-9, Juan Rincon 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Brad Radke 29, Juan Rincon 6, Joe Nathan 3|
|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.285|
|Ruben Gotay, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.243|
|a- Terrence Long, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.260|
|Mike Sweeney, DH||4||0||3||2||0||0||1||.299|
|Matt Stairs, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||5||.257|
|Emil Brown, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.286|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.249|
|Angel Berroa, SS||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.260|
|John Buck, C||4||0||1||2||0||0||1||.227|
|Shane Costa, LF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.284|
|a-struck out for Gotay in the 9th|
|2B - Mike Sweeney (21, Radke), John Buck (9, Radke), Shane Costa (2, Radke)|
|RBI - Mike Sweeney 2 (39), John Buck 2 (24)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mike Sweeney (16)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Zack Greinke (L,1-11)||5.2||8||5||5||2||2||0||6.20|
|IBB - Hunter by Andy Sisco|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zack Greinke 83-55, Leo Nunez 18-13, Jeremy Affeldt 13-11, Mike Wood 6-4, Andy Sisco 14-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zack Greinke 9-6, Leo Nunez 2-2, Jeremy Affeldt 1-0, Mike Wood 1-0, Andy Sisco 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Zack Greinke 27, Leo Nunez 5, Jeremy Affeldt 4, Mike Wood 2, Andy Sisco 3|
|Attendance - 20554|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 87|
|Umpires - Home - Larry Poncino, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Chris Guccione|