SEATTLE (AP) -- Two years ago, Zack Greinke left spring training determined never to play baseball again. Now, the Kansas City right-hander looks like one of the best young pitchers in baseball.
Greinke was dominant again Monday night, tossing a five-hitter as the Royals opened a seven-game road trip with a 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.
The 24-year-old Greinke (3-0) was efficient throughout, changing speeds and locations with all his pitches while inducing Seattle's batters into weak groundouts and flailing swings. Only one ball was hit hard all night, a drive from Yuniesky Betancourt that Mark Teahen made a leaping catch on against the wall to end the eighth.
Otherwise, Seattle never threatened against Greinke.
"Just letting them put the ball in play for the most part," he said. "As long as they aren't getting in scoring position, I can be aggressive for the most part. ... It's been working out so far."
Greinke left the Royals during spring training in 2006 for what the team said was personal reasons. He returned to the team in September of that season after being diagnosed by a psychologist with "social anxiety," and learning that it wasn't baseball he disliked.
Since that personal breakthrough, Greinke has continued to develop into the pitcher Kansas City expected when it selected him in the first round of the 2002 draft.
Greinke followed up teammate Brian Bannister's complete game on Sunday with a gem of his own on a chilly night in Seattle. He struck out four and got three double plays while facing only three batters more than the minimum.
Though his ERA rose from 0.60 to 0.75, Greinke matched Bannister with his third win and barely stayed ahead of him in their friendly challenge to have the lowest ERA.
"That's one thing we're kind of going at each other with," Greinke said. "At least I am."
Greinke threw 107 pitches and walked one, working at least eight innings for the second consecutive start. He shut down the New York Yankees in his previous outing. It was his third career complete game and the sixth in the American League this season.
Just one Seattle baserunner advanced past first base against Greinke, who retired 18 of his final 20 batters.
"You never knew what was coming and he threw them all for strikes," Seattle's Richie Sexson said.
Greinke got all the runs he needed in the second inning, thanks to a pair of longballs from an offense that entered the night with just five homers, the fewest in the AL.
Billy Butler homered into the Kansas City bullpen leading off the second to extend his career-best hitting streak to 13 games. Former Mariner Jose Guillen followed with a double to deep right-center and two batters later Miguel Olivo, another former Seattle player, homered to left-center on a 2-2 pitch. It was Olivo's first homer since Sept. 12 with Florida.
"You feel so good playing behind our pitching staff right now you want to do everything you can for them," Butler said.
The Royals added another run in the seventh as Seattle's bullpen continued to struggle. Sean Green took over for starter Jarrod Washburn starting the seventh and allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases. Ryan Rowland-Smith took over and gave up a sacrifice fly to David DeJesus, but escaped the inning without further damage.
Kansas City scored again in the eighth off Roy Corcoran. Second baseman Jose Lopez dropped the transfer of a potential inning-ending double play, and Olivo and John Buck had consecutive singles to plate another run.
Washburn's only problems came in the second, when the Royals forced the left-hander to throw 30 pitches. Washburn (1-2) allowed three runs and six hits, striking out six.
"Just one bad pitch, the changeup to Olivo," Washburn said. "I don't like second guessing myself, but I wish I wouldn't have thrown a changeup in that situation."
DeJesus played for the first time since the season opener when he aggravated a sprained right ankle. He went 2-for-4. ... Seattle called up LHP Arthur Rhodes and RHP R.A. Dickey on Monday, optioned LHP Eric O'Flaherty to Double-A West Tenn and placed OF Mike Morse on the 15-day DL with a dislocated left shoulder. Dickey worked a perfect ninth for Seattle, his first appearance since April 6, 2006. ... Seattle LF Raul Ibanez and Bannister were named co-AL players of the week.