Monster Meche: Righty scares away Sox
Starter unfazed by two-run first, season history between teams
KANSAS CITY -- The first inning had déjà vu written all over it Monday night.
That happens when the Red Sox score two runs, and then you consider the history between these teams so far this season (a sweep for the Sox, including a no-hitter). Another Boston blowout seemed possible, until starter Gil Meche gained control.
Instead of the first inning signifying doom, it was just an anomaly, a mere bump for Meche in the Royals' 4-3 win, his fourth straight victory.
"When your arm feels good," Meche said, "things happen."
Meche's arm felt good all night, even during the rough first. J.D. Drew led it off with a walk, and Dustin Pedroia followed with a double. The Red Sox scored a run when David Ortiz grounded out, scoring Drew. Kevin Youkilis followed with a double, and just like that, Kansas City was down 2-0.
Meche, though, didn't worry. He said his pitches just got away from him, nothing he couldn't overcome.
"If I didn't feel good in the first," Meche said, "it probably would've been a different outcome, but I felt real good, so I didn't let it affect me too much.
"I've had a lot of games in my career where you give up two runs in the first and all of a sudden cruise."
That's what happened on Monday, although the Red Sox made it a lot easier. Meche knew he didn't have his best stuff. His delivery was up, and as a result, lots of his pitches were, too. That led to a total of five walks for the game.
On a 96-degree night, extra pitches are never good. Fortunately, Meche's pitches that missed the strike zone often confused Red Sox batters. Manager Trey Hillman called it being effectively wild.
Meche ended up striking out nine, and he was the first to admit Boston's hitters chased a lot of those third strikes.
"Five walks probably could've been a lot more," he said, "but they were aggressive, and I just kept battling with them and got through six innings on a hot day with a good team."
After going six and giving up two on Monday, Meche lowered his ERA to 4.17. It was at 5.54 on June 5. Since then, he hasn't given up more than four runs in any of his outings, and is 7-1 in his past 11 starts.
"I've just been relying on my fastball and curveball," Meche said, "and when your velocity is good, you can do things in a game."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.