DETROIT - Jim Leyland was unhappy.
Leaning back in his chair with his feet propped up on top of his desk, the Detroit manager didn't relish discussing his team's latest loss to last-place Kansas City.
"There's no excuses," he said.
Zack Greinke lowered his major league-leading ERA to 2.14 with five scoreless innings in a 9-2 victory yesterday over the Tigers.
Kansas City, an AL-worst 59-87, has won six of its last seven games against the Tigers (78-68), whose AL Central lead over second-place Minnesota (74-72) was cut to four games. Detroit starts a three-game series at the Metrodome on Friday.
"It's going to be a playoff atmosphere," Detroit's Brandon Inge said.
Greinke (14-8) gave up three hits, struck out eight and walked two. He has allowed only one earned run in his past four starts, lowering his ERA from 2.43.
Miguel Olivo and Josh Anderson hit three-run homers for the Royals, and Willie Bloomquist had four hits.
Greinke struck out two in the first and three in the second. The only real trouble he faced was in the fourth, when the right-hander was struck on the upper part of his throwing arm by a liner off the bat of Miguel Cabrera. Greinke gathered himself and threw out Cabrera at first, then needed several warmup pitches and a visit from a trainer before he continued.
"When I started warming up, I didn't have any control, so I told Trey that I needed more pitches," he said, referring to manager Trey Hillman. "Once I got used to it, I was able to get my fastball over and the offspeed pitches were fine. I wasn't scared - the only thing that scares me is getting hit in the face."
Hillman said X-rays were negative, and the team will monitor Greinke during the next several days.
"That was a scary moment for me, and I'm sure for anyone who cares about Zack Greinke. We didn't know what we would see when we got out there, but that's the arm that he makes his money with, so we were concerned," Hillman said. "At first, his arm was numb, so the pitches were wild, but once the blood got running, he got his control back. We had six or seven sets of eyes on him, and if anything had changed, he was coming out of the game."
Hillman removed his ace after 77 pitches, 46 for strikes.
"I never want to only go five, but it was the right move, because I didn't feel like I was pitching very well in the fifth," Greinke said.
Edwin Jackson (12-7), like Greinke a member of the AL All-Star team, gave up five runs and six hits in five innings.
Leyland said Jackson's outing was "not very good," and he's concerned about the right-hander's troubles with his slider.
Jackson conceded the pitch hasn't worked in "some games," but that fatigue isn't the issue.
Cabrera's 30th homer, a two-run drive off Bruce Chen, cut the lead to 8-2 in the bottom half.
NOTES: Chen strained his left oblique muscle on a pitch to Curtis Granderson in the seventh and was replaced by Kyle Farnsworth. Hillman said Chen is day-to-day. ... Injured Tiger LHP Nate Robertson (groin) threw a bullpen session before the game, and Leyland said he'll start Sunday against the Twins. ... Greinke has 224 strikeouts, 20 short of Dennis Leonard's club-record 244, set in 1977. ... Tiger LHP Jarrod Washburn (knee) will see a doctor next week, Leyland said..
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