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Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2007

Royals jump on M’s early

Seattle’s Weaver doesn’t survive first inning in loss

April 29, 2007

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— By the time Gil Meche took the mound, any pressure surrounding his return to Seattle was gone.

Jeff Weaver's inability to get out of the first inning took it away.

Meche, the former Seattle starter, pitched six innings, and the Kansas City Royals chased Weaver after recording just one out in an 8-3 win over the Mariners on Saturday night.

Winless, and with an ERA already in double-figures, Weaver gave up six runs and seven hits in the first inning and may have cemented his removal from Seattle's rotation. Signed for $8.325 million in the offseason, Weaver (0-4) surrendered five consecutive hits to start the game. Ross Gload capped the streak with a two-run double that gave the Royals a 3-0 lead.

Emil Brown then grounded out to short, which brought home another run and a round of sarcastic cheers from the fans. After another single and a walk, Tony Pena Jr. ended Weaver's misery with a soft liner into right-center field that scored two more.

Weaver wasn't hit hard - only one of the seven hits went for extra bases. But it was the shortest start of his career, and Seattle's four-game win streak was snapped.

Weaver has never pitched well in April. Weaver is now 12-25 in his career in April and this first month is a new low. His ERA escalated to 18.26, and he has pitched more than three innings in one of his four starts. In 111â3 innings, Weaver has allowed 31 hits and 23 earned runs.

On Friday, Weaver said he believed he was improving, despite being pulled after three innings in his last start against the Angels. Instead, he turned in the shortest outing by a Seattle starter since Meche lasted two-thirds of an inning against the Yankees on May 14, 2004.

Meche (2-1) won 55 games with Seattle, then signed a five-year, $55 million deal with Kansas City. He wasn't overpowering, giving up 10 hits - at least one every inning - and allowing two unearned runs in the second and one in the fourth.

But he struck out five, walked two, and escaped the fifth inning despite loading the bases with two outs. After walking Kenji Johjima on a 3-1 pitch, Meche got Yuniesky Betancourt to ground to second and end the inning.

Brandon Duckworth pitched the final three innings for his first career save.

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