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Meche falls victim to Rangers' bats

Meche falls behind early in loss

KANSAS CITY -- One day savoring the fresh air of victory was all the Royals got.

The Texas Rangers put the Royals back on the skids, 9-4, as 12,399 fans watched on a delightfully cool Monday night at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City had ended a seven-game losing streak on Sunday against Detroit.

"When you lose seven in a row and you win a game, you want to build something," Royals pitcher Gil Meche said. "And today just went completely in the opposite direction of what I've been doing in my last however-many starts."

Meche did suddenly grind into reverse. In his previous seven starts since the All-Star break, he'd gone 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA. And he certainly had not allowed any team to pile up 14 hits.

Matter of fact, he had not ever given up 14 hits in any game in his entire career. But the Rangers clipped him for 14 in his 6 1/3 innings. Even so, he managed to hold them to five runs.

"Tonight I just couldn't ever get it going. I left a lot of pitches up," Meche said. "Actually, the home run was actually probably one of the better pitches I threw all day. Knee-high, corner away. He just went out and got it, and it curled inside the foul pole. It was just a bad day."

The home run was smacked by Nelson Cruz, who had three hits in his first Major League game this season. He'd been busy for Triple-A Oklahoma, however, with 37 homers, 99 RBIs and a .342 average in 103 games.

His opposite-field drive to right was just barely fair, but it was good for the final three of four runs the Rangers got in the third inning.

Meche is often a mess against the Rangers. His career record against them is 4-9. He hasn't beaten them since 2005, though last June 10 he left after six innings with a 5-1 lead that the bullpen coughed up.

"He's always been a tough pitcher any time we face him," said Michael Young, who had three of the hits off Meche. "You knew coming into this game he's been throwing the ball well. Fortunately for us, we had some decent at-bats early and got some big hits."

The 14 hits against Meche were the most against a Royals pitcher since Jeff Suppan gave up 14 to Detroit in a 10-1 loss on July 23, 2002.

"One of those nights when he looked a little bit tired and he just didn't have the quality stuff," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Scott Feldman, a reliever-turned-starter, went seven innings for the victory. He gave up three runs on eight hits, three of them singles by David DeJesus. Feldman snapped the Rangers' five-game losing streak when he was on the mound (two losses, three no-decisions).

"I felt like we were focused; I just felt like we didn't unload on quality pitches," Hillman said. "That's a lot easier to say than to get in the box and face a sinker that's moving as much as Feldman's does. He's got a good sinker."

The Rangers got three RBIs each from Milton Bradley and Cruz. Bradley, Cruz, Young and Joaquin Arias each had three hits of what became a total 19. Chris Davis added a solo home run off reliever Joel Peralta.

"Everybody knows when they're playing the Rangers that they have the ability to swing it," the Royals' Billy Butler said. "They've probably got one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best. I don't know where they rank, I don't look at the numbers."

When it comes to scoring runs, the Rangers rank first in the Majors with 738. That's 5.6 runs a game, if you're counting.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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