Philadelphia (31-30) at Kansas City (23-39)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Jun 9, 2007
  • TV: WPSG, RTN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Royals snapped a dismal skid at Kauffman Stadium with one of their best offensive performances of the season. Now if they could only muster that type of support for starter Gil Meche.

Meche looks to avoid dropping a fifth straight start when the Royals continue their three-game interleague series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.

Kansas City (23-39) averaged just 1.9 runs during a season-high seven-game losing streak at home, but ended the slump with an 8-4 victory over the Phillies (31-30) in Friday’s opener. The Royals, who are a major-league worst 10-21 on their home field, overcame an early deficit with a six-run second inning.

Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Sweeney each hit a two-run homer in the crucial inning for Kansas City, which recorded a season-high 16 hits.

“When we got down 3-0, we were like, ‘Oh, no. We’re not going to play the here-we-go-again story and roll over and take it on the chin,”’ said Sweeney, who is batting .320 (8-for-25) since the start of June. “We fought back in the second inning and stepped up and finally got our bats going.”

Kansas City won for the just the fourth time in the last 15 games and improved to 3-1 in interleague play. Similar offense to Friday would be a nice change for Meche (3-5, 3.00 ERA), who has gotten just two total runs of support in his last four outings - all losses - while posting a 5.96 ERA.

The right-hander fell 4-2 to Tampa Bay on Monday, although he allowed just three runs - two earned - and four hits over six-plus innings for his 10th quality start of the season. He went 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA in his first nine starts of 2007, but isn’t letting his recent lack of support get to him.

“I don’t worry about it,” Meche told the Royals’ official Web site. “It’s not fun to lose. I just have to look at it as doing my job.”

Meche is 9-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 16 career interleague games, but fell 6-4 to Colorado on May 19. He is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a .163 opponent batting average in two career starts versus the Phillies.

Philadelphia saw its six-game road winning streak snapped Friday, and lost for just the second time in the last seven overall contests. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in the defeat, but starter Freddy Garcia gave up six runs in just 1 2-3 innings and complained of pain in his right shoulder.

The Phillies hope for a better showing Saturday when they hand the ball to Jon Lieber (2-4, 4.30).

The veteran right-hander seeks to rebound from back-to-back losses, during which he’s given up 10 runs and 23 hits in 11 2-3 innings. He surrendered five runs and 10 hits, including a homer, over five-plus innings of an 8-1 defeat to San Francisco on Monday.

“His slider wasn’t as sharp,” Philadelphia catcher Rod Barajas said. “With Jon, he really needs that slider. We were throwing in the bullpen before the game and it wasn’t that great.”

Lieber is 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts versus the Royals.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lieber ChC vs. G. Meche KC
3-6 Record 9-13
4.73 ERA 3.67
54 K 156
22 BB 62
1.45 WHIP 1.30

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jun 9