KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gil Meche picked up his ninth victory Tuesday night, but he could have a whole lot more if he got any run support this season.
Meche (9-12) has a 2.90 ERA over his past eight starts, and has not allowed more than three runs in any of them. But he is just 2-3 over that stretch, and the Royals have scored only 10 runs while he was on the mound in his 12 defeats.
"I think you could conservatively say he could have won 16 to 17 games the way he's pitched," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "We got three runs in the first and that's all we needed. I felt like were on the edge all night long and kind of held on."
The right-hander, who the Royals signed to a five-year, $55 million contract during the offseason, has worked 202 innings to become the first Kansas City pitcher to surpass the 200-inning mark since left-hander Darrell May logged 210 innings in 2003.
"It's something I've never done," Meche said. "To come in here with a big contract and establish myself as a good pitcher who eats up a lot of innings and give us a chance to win, for the most part I've done that all year. I've been real pleased."
Meche gave up two runs, one earned, while striking out five and walking two.
"We get three runs off the bat and it let me go out there and relax a little," Meche said. "It seemed like I got better as the game went along. In the seventh inning, I had the best stuff I had the whole game."
The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first when the first four batters collected hits off Gavin Floyd (1-3).
"They hit a couple of good pitches," Floyd said. "I was trying to be strong-minded and aggressive. I just tried to keep the game close and give the team a chance to win."
David DeJesus and Mark Grudzielanek led off with singles, and Ross Gload's double to right-center drove in DeJesus. Butler's two-run single gave Meche all the help he would need.
"We got him the run support in the first and he did the rest," DeJesus said. "We would have liked to get him more runs late in the game. We're trying to score every inning."
The White Sox scored an unearned run in the fourth when Jason Smith's fielding error on Darin Erstad's bouncer allowed Josh Fields to score.
Chicago manufactured a run in the sixth, trimming the Royals' lead to one run. Fields led off the inning with a double, took third on Jermaine Dye's fly out to right and scored on Erstad's fielder's choice ground out.
Rookie Joakim Soria pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, for his 16th save in 20 opportunities. He threw 10 pitches, all for strikes.
"When we can get to him, we feel pretty good," Bell said.
After his shaky start, Floyd settled down to go six innings, allowing nine hits and three runs while striking out six and walking one.
"Floyd threw the ball good," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "After the first four batters, it was a great performance. I am really happy about it. It's nice to see him have some confidence and give his team a chance to win."
After the three-run first, the Royals went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position the next four innings. The Royals stranded two runners in the second and left the bases loaded in the fourth.
The White Sox, however, went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
DeJesus was hit by a Floyd pitch in the fourth and is tied for the AL lead with 20 HBPs. ... 3B Alex Gordon was held out of the Royals lineup with a bruised right knee after fouling a ball off of it on Monday. ... White Sox 2B Danny Richer extended his hitting streak to seven games with a fifth inning double.