A key in the deal that sent the All-Star center fielder to Houston, Teahen was thought to be a bust when he was shipped down to Triple-A this spring hitting a paltry .195.
However, a month in Omaha apparently did wonders. After going 4-for-4 Tuesday night in the Royals’ 5-2 victory over Cleveland, the slender third baseman is hitting .295.
“He’s an impressive young player,” said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. “He’s a great example of somebody that’s worked hard.”
Teahen had a home run and two doubles and scored the go-ahead run on Victor Martinez’s throwing error, helping Odalis Perez (1-1) get his first victory in four months. Teahen also had two stolen bases.
“You go through the minors always being a good player,” he said. “Then you get here and I struggled through last year and struggled the first month (this year). I think it was good for me to get there and regain that confidence that I’m a good ballplayer.”
In his last 13 games, he’s scored 10 runs and driven in eight while hitting six doubles and three home runs.
“I didn’t change a whole lot mechanically,” Teahen said. “I just got comfortable with what I was doing and got some confidence. I’ve just been building that more or less ever since I got back.”
Perez gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings for his first victory as a starter since April 21 when he beat Arizona while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Teahen hit a two-run homer in the first inning and then hustled out his second double in the sixth. He bolted for an attempted steal of third a moment later and came home, making it 3-2, when Martinez’s throw sailed a couple of feet over the head of third baseman Andy Marte.
“The guy got a good jump,” Wedge said. “Victor tried to rush a little bit and got underneath the ball.”
Travis Hafner was 3-for-4 with two doubles to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Cliff Lee (10-9) gave up three runs and five hits in six innings while taking his first loss in five career decisions at Kauffman Stadium.
Lee, whose 18 wins last year were the most by a Cleveland lefty since 1988, came into the game 4-0 with a 3.67 ERA in seven starts in Kansas City. He had two walks and struck out five, matched his highest total since striking out seven against the Royals on May 18—17 starts ago.
Like his manager, Lee is impressed with Teahen, especially the way he hit his opposite-field two-run homer in the first.
“I gave up a leadoff double, got the next two guys and made what I thought was a good pitch to Teahen,” Lee said. “A first-pitch home run. He hit it the other way. You’ve got to tip your cap to him. He’s locked in right now.”
Perez, obtained in a trade with the Dodgers on July 25, walked one and struck out four. He retired 10 in a row after giving up Hafner’s double in the second. Joe Nelson pitched the ninth for his third save in three chances.
Martinez drove in Jason Michaels with the first Cleveland run with an infield out in the first, then Hafner’s second double put Michaels on third in the sixth and Ryan Garko’s sacrifice fly made it 2-all.
Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore was a last-minute scratch from the starting lineup with stiffness in the mid-back. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Teahen has 11 hits in his last 19 at-bats against Cleveland. …Royals 1B Doug Mientkiewicz will be examined by a specialist this week and there is no indication when he might return from a back injury. Manager Buddy Bell said he certainly will not be back before Sept. 1. … The Royals will throw three left-handed starters in this three-game series. … Detroit’s 4-0 victory over the White Sox officially eliminated the Royals from the AL Central race with 35 games remaining.