DENVER -- Garrett Atkins has gone back to a line-drive mentality at the plate. And if one leaves the park, it's that much better.
"Just trying to hit line drives now," Atkins said. "It felt like it's been a while."
It has. Atkins hit his first homer since April 14. He even managed a grin as he ran around the bases.
"I wasn't sure how to act," Atkins said of his third homer of the season. "I just put a good swing on it."
The Rockies got a couple of good swings on Royals ace Gil Meche, who gave up two homers and five runs on eight hits in five innings.
That hasn't happened much to Meche, particularly on the road. Brad Hawpe's two-run homer to deep center in the fourth inning ended Meche's scoreless road streak at 30 innings -- a run that spanned five starts.
Meche (3-2) is actually relieved the streak is finished. It takes the pressure off.
"It's impressive. I've pitched real well on the road this year, which is a little bit different than what I'm used to," said Meche, who saw his ERA rise from 1.91 to 2.44. "I'm normally a little bit worse on the road. It's been a good streak."
Meche said the balls out of the humidor had a different feel than he's used to.
"Some balls had seams, some didn't," he said. "I had some that were brand new that looked almost lopsided. I kept walking off the mound, licking my fingers, trying to get as much as I could to get something on it. No excuse. Just a bad day, I didn't make good pitches when I needed."
Todd Helton also homered -- a solo shot in the seventh -- and scored three runs for the Rockies, who received an impressive start from Buchholz (2-2). The right-hander won for the first time since April 18.
Buchholz rebounded from his last start when he gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings against San Francisco on May 13.
"That's something I've always been battling - the consistency thing," Buchholz said. "I was consistent (Saturday). The command was there."
Helton liked what he saw from the 25-year-old Buchholz.
"I'm not a pitching coach, but he threw the ball really well," Helton said.
After the game, Buchholz proudly displayed a red welt on his right forearm. It was courtesy of Emil Brown's liner in the first inning. Buchholz shook off the injury and motioned that he was fine after a few warmup tosses.
"It's going to be sore (Sunday)," said Buchholz, who improved to 4-0 in interleague play. "I think I was lucky enough that it glanced off my glove a little bit."
Buchholz isn't sure when his next start may be. With Rodrigo Lopez set to come off the disabled list soon, Buchholz may find himself back in the bullpen.
"I think that's what's going to happen," he said. "I'll wait until they tell me."
Ryan Shealy, who came up through the Colorado farm system before being traded last season, hit a three-run homer off Ramon Ramirez with two outs in the ninth. Brian Fuentes came on and got pinch-hitter Esteban German to ground out for his 11th save.
The Rockies' bullpen has been shaky this season, blowing a National League-high nine games. Reliever Manny Corpas gave up four runs in a 5-2 loss on Friday night after taking over for starter Jeff Francis in the eighth.
"We bounced back after a difficult defeat," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We beat a No. 1 starter. We're grinding. We're not quitting on ourselves. We believe in ourselves. We're working hard every day to get where we want to get. It's not to compete, it's to win this division."
RHP Octavio Dotel threw a perfect ninth Friday night for Double-A Wichita to earn the save. He's been out since the last week of spring training with an abdominal strain. ... GM Dan O'Dowd took blame for the Rockies' slow start. "Everything ultimately stops at my desk. So, ultimately, the record of the club is accountable to me," O'Dowd said Saturday. ... The Rockies designated INF John Mabry for assignment Saturday and called up OF Ryan Spilborghs from Triple-A Colorado Springs.