Royals top Cards for sixth straight win
Gordon drives in four; Meche hurls seven solid frames
KANSAS CITY -- So far, the I-70 Series is all goin' to Kansas City.
Alex Gordon knocked in four runs and Gil Meche earned the victory as the Royals won their fourth straight game from the cross-state St. Louis Cardinals, 7-2, on Friday night with 36,360 fans packed into Kauffman Stadium.
And, if you're counting, the Royals have won six consecutive games -- the longest streak since the 2003 club began the season 9-0. That was five years ago.
They also stand 13-3 against the National League, and they've won 11 of their past 12 games. It's almost enough to make you forget those 12 straight losses in May.
"We had that stretch where it was almost like, 'OK, what's going to happen next?' Just because it kept going downhill," Gordon said. "Now it's the other way. Everything is working well and we're positive right now."
Gordon lashed a bases-loaded double for the last three of the four runs scored in the second inning against right-hander Joel Pineiro.
John Buck's double, Ross Gload's single and Joey Gathright's infield hit produced the first run. David DeJesus singled to load the bases and, with two out and two on, Gordon drilled a double down the right-field line.
"I saw a couple of changeups to start and when he got two strikes, I was kind of sitting on that," Gordon said. "He left one up and I was able to hook it down the line."
Gordon also crashed his 10th home run to lead off the fifth inning for a 5-0 lead.
Meche survived nicely with tough pitching and some superb defense, notably in the first inning.
The Cardinals had one on and one out when big, bad Albert Pujols, just recently activated from the disabled list, pounded a long drive toward the right-field wall. Back, back went Mark Teahen.
"He's fighting the sun big-time, his shades are on, he's trying to feel his way to the wall, he doesn't know when he's going to hit it and he catches it right before he hits it," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "So it was a great catch."
Meche doubted the ball would have cleared the fence, but certainly it could have dented the pads for an extra-base hit.
"If he doesn't catch that ball, it's a different game," Meche said.
Rick Ankiel doubled to put runners at second and third. Troy Glaus lifted a foul popup that Meche figured was in the stands. Buck, the catcher, figured differently.
"I think it was just the situation where, with guys at second and third and Glaus, a good hitter up, I was just not letting that ball fall," he said.
All he had to do was climb up on a couple of chairs vacated by the batboys next to the Royals' dugout, where, somehow, he leaned over the rail and made the catch.
"I don't [know] when I got on them or how I got on them, I was just going for the ball," Buck said.
Buck later saw some saving stops by shortstop Mike Aviles.
"It's something new every day," Buck said. "Normally, he's our guy driving in runs, getting three or four hits. Today he stole three or four hits at pivotal times to change the game in a positive way for us."
The only run off Meche came on Glaus' home run in the seventh. Chris Duncan followed with a double, but Meche got the next three batters and turned the game over to the bullpen.
Ron Mahay gave up a run in the eighth before Ramon Ramirez shut things down. That left closer Joakim Soria and Joel Peralta warming up in the bullpen.
"We were both warming up," Peralta said. "If we didn't score, Soria was coming in. If we did score, I was coming in. I was praying that we'd score some runs. And we did."
Yep, DeJesus' third hit, a two-run double, created a five-run lead in the bottom of the eighth and Peralta was on.
Yadier Molina singled, but Peralta induced a double-play ball. Aaron Miles singled off Peralta's glove before Skip Schumaker's fly ball ended the game.
Hillman was captivated by the I-70 Series atmosphere in this first game at KC; the red-shirted Cardinals fans mingling with the blue-shirted Royals fans.
Mulling over the pleasant proceedings, Hillman focused on Teahen's catch in the first inning.
"The biggest one for me was Pujols, because of the way that can start the inning off and get the red shirts into the momentum of the ballgame," he said.
Right now, the momentum is all blue and goin' to Kansas City.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.