Catcher John Buck may have been the hitting hero for the Royals. His homer in the 10th gave Kansas City its first lead of the game and the eventual win. But manager Buddy Bell knew that it was Meche who put the Royals in a position to earn the come-from-behind win.
"You don't really expect anything less from [Meche]," Bell said. "He competes. He knows what he has to do; he understands what his job is. Stuff-wise and command-wise, I don't think he could have been any better than what he was today."
Meche was, indeed, at his best against the Tigers. He allowed two consecutive singles to begin the game, but he ended that threat by inducing a double play from cleanup hitter Carlos Guillen. Meche mostly shut down the Tigers for the rest of the game, retiring 13 of 14 hitters at one point.
The only time he ran into trouble was in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk by No. 9 hitter Brandon Inge and an infield single from Curtis Granderson.
A double-play grounder to third baseman Alex Gordon should have ended the threat, but Gordon overthrew the ball and allowed Inge to score. Meche loaded the bases on an intentional walk, but he got two outs before allowing a two-run single to Craig Monroe.
"[Gordon] made that error, but it was my fault on that Granderson play," Meche said of the slow-rolling swinging bunt that neither he nor Buck could handle correctly.
At that point, Meche could have let the game get out of hand, but he didn't allow a runner past second base in the next 2 1/3 innings, keeping the score at 3-1.
Usually, a 3-1 deficit would result in a loss for the Royals. But they finally scored a couple of runs in the ninth off Tigers closer Todd Jones.
Mark Teahen hit an RBI double, and Ross Gload legged out a fielder's choice on what could have been the final out of the game. Instead, Gload, who was nursing an injured quad, narrowly beat the throw to first base as Teahen scored to tie the game at 3.
"This says something about the character of this team, especially the way Ross legged that out with his leg hurting," Buck said. "That shows some guts on everybody's part. To fight back like that against Todd Jones, hopefully, this can build some momentum."
The kind of momentum that a pitcher signed to be the staff ace should bring.
"[Mike] Sweeney made a great quote to me today: 'All winning streaks come from a loss,'" Meche said. "I kind of chuckled at that.
"But we needed to win today, I did the best job I could for as long as I could and our offense came through in the end."
The Royals could use some of that positive momentum. They finished their nine-game road trip 2-7 and have Thursday off before facing the American League Central-rival Twins on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
"Our team doesn't ever quit," Buck said. "Offensively the last few games, I think we've done some positives. Hopefully, we can get on a positive roll here."