ANAHEIM (AP) — Zack Greinke was outpitched by Jeremy Hellickson in his Los Angeles Angels’ debut, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 Sunday.
Obtained Friday from Milwaukee, the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out eight. Greinke (0-1) gave up an RBI single to Matt Joyce in the sixth and threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the seventh after Carlos Pena doubled and advanced on a groundout.
Greinke, eligible for free agency after the season, was 9-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 21 starts with the Brewers.
Hellickson (6-6) pitched two-hit ball through six innings, striking out five and walking none. He retired 15 of his first 16 batters, allowing only Maicer Izturis’ leadoff single in the fourth. The Angels’ other hit off him was a leadoff single by Chris Iannetta in the sixth — a liner that deflected off the glove of diving second baseman Ben Zobrist.
Hellickson has won consecutive starts for the first time since April 19-25, when he beat the Yankees 9-4 and followed that up with a 3-2 victory over the Angels. He was 0-6 with a 4.29 ERA in nine starts preceeding these last two outings.
Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta followed with a perfect inning each, and Fernando Rodney got three outs for his 30th save in 31 attempts, tying Baltimore’s Jim Johnson for the AL lead. With runners on first and second, Rodney fell behind Albert Pujols 3-0 in the count before throwing a called strike and inducing a game-ending, double-play grounder.
Greinke, acquired for Double-A right-handers Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg, was stopped from becoming the third major league pitcher in major league history to win 20 consecutive home decisions. Pittsburgh’s Ray Kremer won 23 straight from 1926-27 and the Yankees’ Lefty Grove 20 in a row from 1938-41. Greinke’s previous home loss was with Kansas City on July 26, 2010.
Greinke fell behind in the sixth when No. 9 hitter Elliot Johnson led off with a bloop double to right-center. Sam Fuld replaced him at second after Greinke fielded his one-out comebacker and trapped Johnson in a rundown. Zobrist followed with a chopper over the mound and beat shortstop Izturis’ throw to first for a hit, and Joyce singled.
Angels rookie Mike Trout, who leads the AL with a .350 average, missed the game because of a sore left knee, injured Saturday night when he tried to make a leaping catch against the fence in left-center field on a home run by Zobrist.
NOTES: The Angels were shut out in consecutive games for the second time this season, including May 3-4 against Toronto in Anaheim. Their 11th shutout loss tied Oakland for the most in the majors. … Greinke’s first pitch in an Angels uniform was lined to left field for a single by Desmond Jennings, who had never faced him in a regular-season game. … In his first game with the Brewers, Greinke lost 8-0 before going 6-0 in his next seven starts. … The Angels begin a 10-game trip with a four-game series at Texas starting Monday night. RHP Ervin Santana will start the opener, his first appearance since July 21, when he gave up six runs and three homers in 1 2-3 innings against the Rangers. He’s had a couple of strong bullpen sessions since.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.