Throwing only fastballs and changeups worked for Kansas City’s Gil Meche in his first rehab assignment start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas last week. But, the same repertoire was a recipe for disaster with Triple-A Omaha, as the New Orleans Zephyrs pounded Meche early en route to a 9-6 win Monday before 7,927 at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Meche, who hasn’t pitched for Kansas City since May 25, pitched four scoreless innings last Wednesday in a game at Arkansas. Monday, in his first rehab start since his promotion, Meche (0-1) gave up seven runs on eight hits – including four doubles – walking two and striking out one. The 31-year old righty threw 79 pitches, 53 for strikes. Still down 7-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, Omaha started to chip away at the Z’s lead. New Orleans starter Tom Mastny (3-1) retired 17 of the first 19 Royals batters, before yielding three consecutive two-out singles in the sixth, with Kila Ka’aihue driving in two runs with a single to center. The Royals closed to 7-4 in the seventh on a two-run double by Marc Maddox, the second of his three hits on the day. The Zephyrs bought some insurance in the eighth, with Brian Barden’s two-run homer off Louis Coleman making it a 9-4 game. In the bottom of the eighth, Ka’aihue smashed his club-leading 22nd home run, giving the PCL All-Star a team-best 74 RBI on the year. Omaha scored its final run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by David Lough, which brought Mike Moustakas to the plate with two outs representing the tying run. But, he flied to right to end the game.
Omaha (53-50) wound up 2-4 on the homestand, with the Zephyrs taking the season series 10-6. The Royals have lost nine of their last 13 games. Omaha embarks on an eight-game road trip back to Tennessee on Tuesday, playing a pair of four-game sets at division rivals Nashville and Memphis. The Royals’ next home game is Wednesday, August 4th at 7:05 p.m. vs. Portland, which opens an eight-game homestand vs. the Beavers and the Tacoma Rainiers.