He delivered one and DeJesus hit it into Chase Field’s pool area for his first career grand slam, lifting the Kansas City Royals to an 8-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. DeJesus also doubled and singled and had a career-high five RBIs.
“He threw a changeup down for the first pitch, and then I was just ready if I saw a fastball,” said DeJesus, who hit his seventh homer and his second in as many days. “And I was able to get a good swing on it and it went out.”
DeJesus raised his average to .304 as the Royals, last in the AL Central, took two of three from the NL West-leading Diamondbacks. Kansas City banged out 31 hits in winning the last two games by a combined score of 20-6.
“It’s a big deal for us right now with what we’ve been through this season, some of the ups and the downs,” Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. “Hopefully, this is the start of a long upswing for us.”
For a change, the Royals provided plenty of support for Gil Meche, who went 7 1-3 innings for his first victory since May 15, a span of six starts. He allowed three runs on four hits, striking out a season-high 10 and walking one.
Meche (4-8) isn’t a big strikeout pitcher—he’s reached double digits only twice before in his career—but he preyed on the free-swinging Diamondbacks, who have the third-most strikeouts in the major leagues.
“They’re an aggressive team, a lot of young guys,” Meche said. “Going into the game, I knew they would be hacking and I just tried to use that to my advantage.”
Meche, in the second year of a five-year, $55 million contract, got off to a fast start. He struck out the side in the first and retired the first 12 men he faced before giving up a clean single to Conor Jackson leading off the fifth.
By then, Meche was protecting a six-run lead, thanks in part to his efforts at the plate.
The Royals went ahead 1-0 in the first when DeJesus led off with a single, moved up on a walk and a groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Owings.
With two out, Meche bounced a single off Owings’ glove to score Guillen and make it 2-0. It was Meche’s third hit in 19 career at-bats (.158) and his second career RBI.
“The biggest thing that I’m pretty pleased with is just getting Dave to the plate for that grand slam,” Meche said.
Meche’s scratch hit set the stage for DeJesus, who entered the game hitting .357 (15-for-42) with runners in scoring position, 10th in the AL.
He hit a 1-0 pitch from Owings 409 feet to break the game open.
“He got a pitch and hammered it,” Meche said. “He had a good day.”
Owings (6-5) went 5 1-3 innings, allowing a season-high seven runs and eight hits. He won his first four starts but is 2-5 since, and has allowed 21 earned runs in 19 innings over his last four starts.
“For the most part, I’m kind of scratching my head,” Owings said. “The stuff’s felt better today than it has been in a while. I take full responsibility today for the loss.”
Despite the loss, the Diamondbacks remained 5 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who dropped their fifth straight at Detroit. Arizona has gone 17-24 since May 2 but has picked up 1 1/2 games on the rest of the NL West.
“It’s a silver lining, but we have to take care of our own business,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “The fact that our division isn’t playing great is nice at this point, but you can’t concentrate on that. You can’t continue to hope that other teams struggle so you have a chance. Ultimately, we’re going to have to play better.”
Kansas City LHP John Bale, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, and RHP Leo Nunez, out with a strained right lat, were expected to report to the Royals’ spring training complex in Surprise, Ariz., for rehab stints. … Arizona LF Eric Byrnes, on the disabled list with two injured hamstrings, could go on a minor league rehab assignment this week. Byrnes is likely to rejoin the club by the June 23-25 visit to Boston, Melvin said. … Arizona RHP Leo Rosales, recalled from Triple-A Tucson before the game, made his major league debut. He gave up one run and four hits in 1 2-3 innings.