Greinke notches first win as Royals provide rare run support

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Zack Greinke's first win of the season came too late to save manager Trey Hillman's job.

The Kansas City Royals fired Hillman Thursday, announcing the move right after the AL Cy Young winner won for the first time in eight starts, 6-4 over the Cleveland Indians.

"There is never a right time for something like this to happen," Greinke said. "No matter what it's going to be awkward and it is going to feel like it's the wrong time."

Alberto Callaspo hit a three-run homer and the Royals roughed up David Huff (1-5) and gave Greinke (1-4) his most run support of the season to end Kansas City's seven-game losing streak. The hard-luck right-hander made the most of it, winning for the first time since September by allowing up three runs in six innings.

The 47-year-old Hillman was in his third season with Kansas City and went 152-207. Former Brewers manager Ned Yost, who had joined the Royals' front office in January, took over the 12-23 team.

Greinke will have little time to get acquainted with his new manager, who immediately stepped into the job.

"I'm guessing he was the manager of the Rockies, but I guess it could have been the Brewers because he looks like he would be a manager of the Brewers," Greinke said of Yost. "So that's how much I know about him."

He could consult with Jason Kendall. The catcher played for Yost in Milwaukee, and is impressed.

"Ned is a great manager, a great baseball person. He's very intense," Kendall said. "Ned is not playing for us either. We'll see what happens tomorrow. He's a very classy person, also. He's one of the guys you want to play for."

Robinson Tejeda allowed a run in the eighth inning on Asdrubal Cabrera's third hit, a run-scoring single, but Joakim Soria closed out the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances.

Cleveland stranded 11 runners.

"Early in the game we could have done more damage, but we couldn't put the ball in play in that first inning. That's the type of guy [Greinke] is," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "After that we really fought and scratched and got those three runs. We had the opportunity to get the big hit to knock him out, but couldn't do it."

Greinke opened the season with no wins over his first seven starts, some of it his fault, some his teammates'.

"We need to start winning. If [managerial change] gets it done, that gets it done," Greinke said of Hillman's firing. "We've just got to start playing better."

The attention-shy right-hander has gotten the fourth-lowest run support in the AL at 2.4 runs per game, and the bullpen has blown leads in three games after he left the mound. But he's also had his share of rough moments, allowing three or more earned runs twice, including a loss to Texas on Friday in his last start.

The Indians scored three off him in one inning, getting run-scoring singles by Austin Kearns and Jhonny Peralta and an RBI double by Matt LaPorta in the third to go up 3-0.

This time, the Royals rallied.

Coming off 3 1/2 rough outings -- his seven runs in 2 2/3 innings against Detroit on Friday was washed out by rain -- Huff cruised through the first three innings before finding trouble in the fourth.

David DeJesus got it started with a leadoff single and Jose Guillen walked, setting up Callaspo's just-over-the-wall three-run shot to tie the game 3-all.

DeJesus gave the Royals their first lead the next inning, looping a run-scoring single in front of a diving Grady Sizemore, then Billy Butler hit the next pitch over the center fielder's head for a double that made it 5-3.

Greinke allowed one hit over the next three innings and was replaced by Tejeda after throwing 112 pitches. He gave up eight hits and struck out eight in his first start at Kauffman Stadium since April 5.

The Royals added a run off Huff in the sixth inning on Yuniesky Betancourt's slicing, run-scoring single to right. The big left-hander has now lost his last four starts, giving up four or more earned runs in each. He allowed six runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Game notes
Kendall was given the day off after sustaining what Hillman said was the worst in-game contusion he had ever seen. Kendall was hit on the left forearm by a pitch Wednesday night, but stayed in the game. X-rays were negative. ... Sizemore's average dropped to .215 after he went hitless in five at-bats.