Joe Randa couldn't knock Glendon Rusch out of the game. Neither could the weather.
Rusch was hit in the left thigh by Randa's line-drive single in the third inning Sunday, then had to sit through a 23-minute rain delay in the sixth. But the Kansas City pitcher recovered quickly both times, pitching his first major league shutout as the Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0.
The Royals took two of three games from the Tigers and moved out of the AL Central cellar by percentage points.
Rusch (4-8) scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out five in his 41st start in the big leagues. He never faced more than four batters in an inning and allowed only one runner past first base.
"I didn't want (the leg) to tighten up on me," said Rusch, who was 0-5 with two no-decisions since beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 on April 30. "I just kept walking around on it between innings, during the rain delay, the whole time."
"The delay wasn't that long," he said. "I just threw in front of the dugout, maybe 10-12 pitches not even pitches, actually, just playing catch."
Rusch's only other complete game was a 9-2 win at Boston on Aug. 19, 1997.
Four of his strikeouts Sunday came in the last three innings, and he retired the Tigers in order in the ninth.
"He was as strong in the end as he was in the beginning," said Kansas City coach Jamie Quirk, the acting manager while Tony Muser serves an eight-game suspension. "He didn't skip a beat."
Johnny Damon gave the Royals a 1-0 lead two pitches into the Kansas City first, snapping an 0-for-13 hitless streak with a home run off rookie Seth Greisinger (0-2). Luis Rivera added an RBI single in the sixth.
The Kansas City defense helped out Rusch with two double plays, including one that ended the sixth inning with the Royals ahead 1-0 and the tying run on third.
After the rain delay, Brian Hunter's one-out infield single in the Detroit sixth moved Deivi Cruz from second to third. But Rusch got Randa to ground to Rivera at shortstop, starting the double play.
"That was probably the biggest pitch of the game, I think, to get Randa to ground into that double play," Rusch said. "In a 1-0 game, that could change the whole course of the game."
Greisinger, the Tigers' No. 1 draft pick in 1996, gave up five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked three.
"I don't know what to think right now," he said. "I guess there were a couple of things I could have done to give our team a better chance to win. I guess you just have to give credit to their pitcher. He kept our hitters off balance and pitched a great ballgame."
Cruz doubled and matched a career high with three hits for the Tigers. He was the only Detroit playr with more than one hit.
Notes: Kansas City's Jeff King went 0-for-3 and had his season-high hitting streak ended at eight games. ... The Royals led off their first inning with a home run for the first time since Sept. 1, 1997, against Cincinnati. Damon also hit that homer. ... The first three batters to reach base against Rusch were all put out on the basepaths. He faced the minimum 10 batters through 3 1-3 innings despite giving up singles in the second and third. ... Randa's fourth-inning throwing error on a groundball by Dean Palmer broke a streak of 40 errorless games. ... Kansas City played its third straight game without an error, a season high. ... Tony Clark's second-inning single extended his hitting streak to eight games. His high this year is 10 games from May 13-22. ... The Royals on Sunday placed infielder Terry Pendleton on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 10, and recalled right-hander Bart Evans from Triple-A Omaha of the Pacific Coast League. Pendleton is recovering from a strained left ribcage.
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