Rays
Royals
2 - 4 Final
  for this game

Meche sharp as Royals down Rays

Jul 25, 2008 - 4:49 AM By Alan Eskew PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Rays continue to struggle away from home, thanks in part to an unusual promise from a pitcher to his catcher.

Gil Meche tossed seven scoreless frames on Thursday, sending the Kansas City Royals to a 4-2 victory over the Rays.

Tampa Bay lost its seventh straight road game, this time to a Kansas City team that has 23 home wins - the second-lowest total in the American League.

The Rays, who are a major league-best 40-16 at home, fell to 19-26 away from Tropicana Field and have not recorded a road victory since June 29 at Pittsburgh.

"Wins are wins, but we have to play a lot on the road in the second half, so we're going to have to learn how to win on the road and get it turned around," Rays rookie third baseman Evan Longoria said.

During their seven-game road losing streak, Tampa Bay has scored 11 runs and hit .181.

"We were working good at-bats and getting into decent counts, but we just weren't getting it done," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think everybody is trying to get it done at once. I'd like to see us get back to the line-drive approach."

On Thursday, it was Meche (8-9) who stymied the Rays. After surrendering four hits and throwing 46 pitches through two innings, the righthander permitted only one single thereafter, needing only 44 pitches over the next five frames.

"The first inning, I couldn't stop sweating," Meche said. "After every pitch, I had to keep going to the back of the mound, wipe my arm, take my glove off. Even my left hand was soaked. It was real humid. My tempo was real slow because of that, but I didn't want to kill somebody by letting the ball slip out of my hand.

"Once I actually cooled off and quit sweating, I was able to pick up my tempo because I knew I was pitching way too slow. I just kept mixing pitches, really didn't throw the same pitches back to back probably the last four innings. We just kept going in and out, working all my pitches in. After the first, I didn't know what was going to happen (or) how tired I was."

In halting the Royals' three-game slide, Meche yielded five hits and a walk and struck out four in posting his second straight win and fifth in six decisions.

Of course, after asking catcher John Buck if he personally could shave his batterymate's head before the game if he promised to pitch well, Meche had little choice.

"(Buck) said he wanted to shave his head," Meche said. "I said, 'I'll do it, let's have some fun with it.'"

"He promised me he'd pitch good if he shaved it, and he kept his promise," said Buck, who drove in two runs.

Mark Grudzielanek pushed across Kansas City's first run with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

In the fourth, Ross Gload lined an RBI single up the middle past Rays starter Matt Garza (8-6), who fell to 0-4 in five career starts against the Royals. One batter later, the newly bald Buck roped a two-run double down the right field line, staking Kansas City to a 4-0 lead.

"We cut him into a Hulk Hogan look and he left it like that through the pitchers' meeting," Meche said. "I tried not to laugh during the pitchers' meeting, he looked that silly. We shaved it right before game time and he went out and he got a good knock. We're going to keep shaving it every fifth day."

The Rays avoided a shutout in the eighth, when they got a run off Ron Mahay.

Jason Bartlett, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day and finished with three of Tampa Bay's seven hits, led off with a double. He advanced to third on Akinori Iwamura's groundout and scored on a grounder by B.J. Upton.

All-Star closer Joakim Soria followed Mahay and struggled, working around two hits and a sacrifice fly by Cliff Floyd in the ninth to nail down his 27th save in 29 opportunities.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 8 0
    KANSAS CITY 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 x 4 10 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TAM - MATT GARZA, J.P. HOWELL (6TH), GRANT BALFOUR (7TH), DAN
    WHEELER (8TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
    KAN - GIL MECHE, RON MAHAY (8TH), JOAKIM SORIA (9TH)
    AND JOHN BUCK


    Jul 24 10:56 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CLIFF FLOYD SCORED EVAN LONGORIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C PENA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    KANSAS CITY 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D NAVARRO (.314, 1-FOR-3)

    Rays 2, Royals 4  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 24 10:55 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY B.J. UPTON SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    KANSAS CITY 4 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.269, 1-FOR-3)

    Rays 1, Royals 4  Top 8, 0 OutsJul 24 10:37 PM
  • 50
    roots
    senorpepr Added 5 roots

    Rays 0, Royals 4  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 24 10:19 PM
  • 45
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Rays 0, Royals 4  Top 6, 0 OutsJul 24 9:56 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Rays 0, Royals 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 24 9:44 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOHN BUCK SCORED BILLY BUTLER AND ROSS GLOAD.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J BUCK ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    KANSAS CITY 4 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M MAIER (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 0, Royals 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 24 9:34 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROSS GLOAD SCORED ALEX GORDON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R GLOAD ON FIRST, B BUTLER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    KANSAS CITY 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J BUCK (.251, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Rays 0, Royals 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 24 9:31 PM
  • 5
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Rays 0, Royals 1  Top 2, 0 OutsJul 24 8:40 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY MARK GRUDZIELANEK SCORED DAVID DEJESUS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M AVILES ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    KANSAS CITY 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J GUILLEN (.265, 13 HR, 66 RBI)

    Rays 0, Royals 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 24 8:31 PM