Meche is More

Seattle rebounded from an ugly one-sided loss Wednesday by getting back at the Royals care of the right arm of Gil Meche. The 24-year-old didn't disappoint, outdueling Kansas City's Jeremy Affeldt for the win.

Meche is more, Mariners' pitcher too much for Royals Seattle's No. 5 starter Gil Meche improved to 6-2 and is pitching more like the ace of the staff. Gil Meche's return to the mound this season wasn't supposed to be easy, but somebody forgot to tell that to Meche, who chalked up his sixth win of the season with a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals Thursday afternoon at Safeco Field.

The Mariners won the three-game series two games to one, and improved to 30-16 on the season.

Using a biting sinker, a curveball and a fastball that reached as high as 96 mph on the radar gun, Meche had the Royals batters off-balance all day. The 24-year-old Louisiana-native struck out seven and walked two over six and two-thirds innings of work.

He left with a 2-1 lead and the bases full of Royals with two outs in the seventh inning, needing the bullpen to get him out of a pinch. Jeff Nelson came on and got second baseman Carlos Febles to flyout to Ichiro in right, keeping Meche in line for the winning decision.

Ben Davis, who started at catcher, gave the home-team an insurance run with a high-arcing homerun over the left-center wall in the seventh. It was his fourth on the season. An inning later, with Royals' reliever Sean Mullen in the game, Seattle tacked on two more with a RBI single by Edgar Martinez and a RBI ground-rule double by Randy Winn.

The 5-1 lead was more than enough for the Mariners' bullpen. Nelson, Arthur Rhodes, and Kazuhiro Sasaki combined to shut the Royals down over the final two and one-thirds innings to preserve the victory.

Meche (6-2) lowered his season ERA to 2.86.

Fellow youngster, Medical Lake, Wash. product Jeremy Affeldt, pitched well but received the loss to drop to 3-2 on the year. A left-handed version of Aaron Sele, Affeldt used his big-breaking curveball to hold the Mariners to three runs in his seven innings of work.

Kansas City (25-20) scored its lone run in the fifth inning when Raul Ibanez raced home on a groundball double-play hit by Desi Relaford.

Ichiro and Carlos Guillen led the Mariners 11-hit attack with two hits apiece.


Game Notes:

Streak Lives: Ichiro extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third inning off of Royals' starter Jeremy Affeldt.

Tucker Tossed: Kansas City designated hitter Michael Tucker was ejected from the game in the fourth inning after arguing a third-strike call by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson.

Under the Sun: Thursday's win improved the Mariners record to 12-0 in day games this season.


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