Meche surrenders three hits in seven innings for first win in more than a month

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gil Meche got his ERA under 4.00, set a season high for strikeouts and won for the first time in more than a month.

Not a bad night for the Kansas City right-hander.

Meche pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and struck out 10, pitching the Royals past Cleveland 3-1 on Saturday night to snap the Indians' 10-game road winning streak.

Cleveland hadn't lost away from home since Aug. 6 at Tampa Bay.

Meche (11-10) started 1-4 with an 8.00 ERA in his first five starts, but has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of 10 starts since the All-Star break, lowering his ERA to 3.96.

"I've got to keep it there," he said. "After the first month, I knew I would turn it around. I knew it wouldn't be that bad all year long. I've been on a good roll."

Meche, who was 0-1 with four no-decisions since an Aug. 4 win over Boston, matched his season high for strikeouts. That brought his season total to a career-high 158, the third straight year he has fanned at least 150.

"I'm not really trying to get them," Meche said. "I'm throwing a lot more changeups to righties, which is a huge pitch. I haven't done that in the past."

Meche entered 3-7 with a 5.20 ERA in 16 career starts against the Indians, but is 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA against them in his past four outings.

"They've had my number for a long time. Even my first start against them this year they beat me up pretty bad," Meche said. "I don't know if it is figuring out how to pitch them or just having really good stuff on the days I've faced them. When you face guys over and over, you start to have a feel for them. I pitch against them a lot. You've got to make adjustments and I have."

David DeJesus went 3-for-4, his third three-hit game in four games, and drove in two runs. Joakim Soria worked a flawless ninth for his 35th save in 37 opportunities.

One of Soria's blown saves was against the Indians on Aug. 20, when Meche was pulled after seven innings having allowed only two hits.

"I don't think about that," Soria said. "Closers have to have a short memory."

DeJesus' two-out single off Zach Jackson (0-2) in the second scored Mark Teahen and Esteban German, both of whom had singled. German's single scored Miguel Olivo with the first run of the inning.

"I knew he threw that little cutter and I was able to get just enough of it to get it over the infield and get the two runs in," DeJesus said. "Those were the two runs that we needed to win the game."

Shin-Soo Choo, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games, led off the fifth with a triple and scored on Ryan Garko's sacrifice fly for the only run Meche allowed.

Jackson, acquired from Milwaukee in the July 7 trade for CC Sabathia, took the loss. The lefty allowed three runs and nine hits with no walks in seven innings.

Jackson stranded four Kansas City runners at third base.

"I was glad to be able to bounce back and keep us in the game after the second," he said. "After an inning like that -- there weren't too many hard-hit balls -- you've got to bounce back and put up as many zeros as you can. I think I wasn't being as aggressive early on. I just told myself to go out there and be aggressive."

The Royals went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"The only disappointing thing is -- and I don't want to rain on the parade after winning four of five -- but we've got to execute in the first, fifth and seventh," Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. "Those are three different innings of opportunity to execute. We've got to get more consistent offense in execution."

Three runs, however, were enough for Meche.

"Meche was the story," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He was strong. He moved his fastball around very effectively. He mixed in his cutter and his changeup, and an occasional breaking ball. I just thought he did a very good job against us. Choo looked like the only guy who really had decent passes at him tonight. We were able to squeeze out one run with Garko's sacrifice fly. But Meche really commanded the ballgame."

The Royals are 4-1 on this homestand, with all the victories coming when the opponent started a left-hander. Kansas City improved to 29-20 in games started by opposing lefties.

Game notes
DeJesus is hitting .389 with runners in scoring position, the second-highest average in the AL. ... Teahen celebrated his 27th birthday with two hits.