Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meche Wins, as KC Squeaks By Angels

It sure wasn't easy, but Gil Meche earned his first win of the season Wednesday night in Anaheim, as the Kansas City Royals scored three runs early and then held on for a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels.

Meche, who entered the game with a record of 0-2 and a 7.13 earned run average, scattered six hits over six innings, and worked his way out of trouble several times. He struck out two, walked three, and lowered his ERA to 6.08.

Four Royals relievers combined to hold Los Angeles (9-7) to a pair of hits over the final three innings, and Joakim Soria struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his fifth save in five opportunities this season.

Kansas City (9-6) didn't waste any time in getting the offense on track, as the Royals jumped on Angels starter Jered Weaver (1-3) for two runs on five hits in the opening frame.

Center fielder Joey Gathright led off the game with a bunt single, but was then picked off first base. However, consecutive singles by second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, left fielder Mark Teahen, and designated hitter Billy Butler all followed, with Butler's hit to right-center scoring Grudzielanek. Third baseman Alex Gordon then drove in Teahen with a two-out single to right.

The Royals scored what turned out to be the winning run in the second inning when Gathright led off with a single to left, stole second base, and then scored when the Angels' Weaver dropped the throw from first baseman Casey Kotchman on a grounder by Grudzielanek.

In the fourth, Los Angeles (9-7) cut the lead to 3-2 with a two-out rally against Meche. Designated hitter Garrett Anderson singled, moved to third on a double to right-center by center fielder Torii Hunter, and then Kotchman's single to left-center scored both runners.

Meche dodged bullets in the fifth and sixth innings, working out of jams with two runners on base each time. In the fifth, the Angels had runners at second and third with only one out, but Meche snagged a grounder back to the mound and caught the runner at third in a rundown, before ending the inning by getting right fielder Vladimir Guerrero on a grounder to Grudzielanek.

Gathright and Teahen each had three hits for the Royals, with Teahen's double to center in the ninth inning coming just inches shy of a home run. Grudzielanek and Gordon both had two hits, while catcher Miguel Olivo and right fielder Jose Guillen both had doubles.

The teams will wrap up the short two-game series Thursday night at 9:05 p.m., with Kansas City right-hander Brett Tomko (1-1, 2.08) facing Angels' righty Jon Garland (1-2, 5.50).

Miguel Olivo/Joakim Soria Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

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