Meche stays strong against Brewers

Meche stays strong vs. Brewers

at Phoenix
Saturday, March 15

Royals at the plate: Kansas City benefited from some sloppy Brewers defense in the fourth inning, taking a 1-0 lead with help from two errors. Jason Smith was credited with an RBI on a fielder's choice and later added a sacrifice fly.

Brewers at the plate: Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy each hit three-run home runs, their first homers of the spring, as Milwaukee won for the eighth time in 10 games. Hardy and Craig Counsell led the way with three hits apiece. Hart added another RBI late in the game but did strike out two more times, giving him 15 in 37 at-bats this spring. Rickie Weeks struck out three times. He has 18 in 38 at-bats.

Royals on the mound: Gil Meche held Milwaukee scoreless through three innings but ran into trouble after walking Gabe Gross and Prince Fielder to lead off the fourth. Hart followed with his homer for a 3-1 Brewers lead, and Laynce Nix and Counsell followed with singles before Meche escaped. In five innings, he was charged with three runs on six hits while striking out eight. Hideo Nomo was charged with five earned runs in three official innings, but he also pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth as both teams agreed to play 10 full innings so pitchers could get their work.

Brewers on the mound: Lefty Manny Parra started and continued his strong bid for a spot in the rotation. Parra didn't allow a Royals hit until the fourth inning, and he ended up working five innings with only three hits, no earned runs and seven strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in his last three appearances, spanning 12 innings, and he has lowered his ERA to 0.64. Dave Bush followed Parra and was just as sharp, though he was charged with two runs on three hits in four innings, plus one scoreless frame that didn't count in the official record.

Cactus League records: Royals 9-8, Brewers 12-6.

Up next for Royals: Zack Greinke, who has given up three earned runs in each of his three starts, will try to lower his 9.00 ERA as the Royals play the Giants at 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday at Surprise Stadium. Victor Santos will start for San Francisco. Also scheduled for the Royals are Joel Peralta, Chi-Hui Tsao, Leo Nunez and Jimmy Gobble.

Up next for Brewers: Ben Sheets is scheduled to work five innings or 80 pitches in a rematch against righty Felix Hernandez and the Mariners at 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in Peoria, Ariz. Sheets was on the wrong end of a 5-2 loss to Hernandez and the Mariners on March 6, but he pitched well, holding Seattle scoreless over three innings with three strikeouts. Relievers Brian Shouse and Seth McClung are also scheduled to get work.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.