• Summary: Gil Meche allowed two runs in seven innings, first baseman Ross Gload accounted for five runs, and the struggling Royals scored a much-needed 5-2 victory over the Angels.
• Hero: Bookend hits by Vladimir Guerrero surrounded a dominating performance by Royals ace Meche that saw him retire 17 Angels hitters in a row after Guerrero's two-run homer in the top of the first. Meche improved his record to 3-1 on the year and maintained his league second-best 2.23 ERA.• Unsung hero: Gload recorded the first four-hit game of his career and was responsible for all five Royals runs, driving in two and scoring the other three.• Figure this: Meche has faced the Angels eight times since 2004, and has posted a 4-1 record in spite of his surprising 6.35 ERA during that span.
• Quotable: "I said in spring training I want to be the guy to come over here and get this rotation going. It started with my first start. I've been on a good roll since." -- Meche.
-- ESPN.com news services
Royals 5, Angels 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Gil Meche may turn out to be the best $55 million invested by Kansas City Royals owner David Glass.Meche allowed two hits in seven innings, retiring 17 straight batters after Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer in the first and leading the Kansas City Royals over the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 Thursday."I've been pitching good. I'm not going to let a two-run homer bother me," Meche said. "The key for me is not walking people. You see what happens when I do."Meche (3-1), who received the biggest contract given to a free agent by Glass, has a 2.23 ERA in seven starts, third in the AL behind Oakland's Dan Haren (1.60) and the Angels' John Lackey (2.19).With terrific command of all his pitches, Meche struck out six and walked one in seven brisk innings. Reggie Willits walked in a 10-pitch at-bat ahead of Guerrero's ninth home run.Only two Angels hit the ball out of the infield during Meche's stretch of 17 straight batters retired, a streak that ended in the seventh when Guerrero reached on a one-out infield single that went off second baseman Esteban German's glove.Guerrero took second on an error by first baseman Ross Gload on Meche's pickoff attempt, but Meche struck out Casey Kotchman and retired Erick Aybar on an easy grounder."I said in spring training I want to be the guy to come over here and get this rotation going," Meche said. "It started with my first start. I've been on a good roll since. I had a bad one in Detroit, but bounced back."Meche was 55-44 with Seattle, the only other major league club he's pitched for. He's off to the type of start the Royals were hoping for."When I'm in hitter's counts, I'm basically throwing offspeed pitches for strikes, and when you can do that up here, you're going to be successful," Meche said. "Everything else is kind of working off that."Brandon Duckworth and rookie Joakim Soria finished the three-hitter, with Soria pitching the ninth for his fifth save in five chances. The victory gave Kansas City a split of the four-game series.Gload had the first four-hit game of his major league career, drove in two runs and scored three.Jered Weaver (1-3) matched his career high with nine strikeouts, giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings. Weaver, who has a 5.12 ERA, lost to Kansas City for the first time in three decisions."We have to have some guys behind (Guerrero) that take advantage of what is created by teams pitching around him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "After Meche gave up the homer, he started to get a real good feel for his changeup, and threw some good breaking balls. He pitched a good game."Gload tripled and scored in the second inning, had an RBI single in the fourth, a single in the sixth and an RBI double off Dustin Moseley that made it 4-2 in the seventh. Rookie Billy Butler then singled him home for his first major league RBI.Gload gave Meche a lot of the credit for the victory."I got a couple of hits, got lucky a couple of times," Gload said. "Gil made a commitment to come here. We want to play good for him. He works fast. He gets outs."Guerrero had big first innings in the series, hitting a two-run double and his fifth career slam in addition to Thursday's homer. He has 29 RBIs in 27 games."The ball Guerrero hit, they tried to go inside," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "With him, you've got to make sure it's way, way inside, or he's going to do exactly what he did with it."Gload tripled leading off the second and scored Kansas City's first run on John Buck's sacrifice fly. Gload tied it 2-all in the fourth with an RBI single following Mike Sweeney's double.After singling in the sixth for his third hit, he stole second, took third on Butler's long fly ball and scored on Tony Pena Jr.'s single for a 3-2 lead."Meche is not throwing quite as hard as he did in Seattle," Scioscia said. "But sometimes that makes you a better pitcher."
Bell said an MRI exam on OF Reggie Sanders revealed a torn left hamstring and he will be placed on the 15-day DL Friday. OF Shane Costa probably will be brought up from Triple-A Omaha. ... The Angels placed INF Maicer Izturis on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 30, with a sore right hamstring, and brought up Brandon Wood from Triple-A Salt Lake. It meant a day off for Orlando Cabrera, who had played in each of the first 28 games. ... After beating the Angels 3-1 Wednesday night, Jorge De La Rosa has the best home ERA in the AL at 0.82.