KANSAS CITY, Mo, -- Jose Guillen found his swing in Cleveland.
Guillen homered in his first two at-bats Friday night and drove in three runs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Colorado Rockies 9-2, a night after going deep in the seventh inning Thursday against the Indians."I'm looking for that swing and I believe my last at-bat [Thursday] in Cleveland I found it and I was able to bring it in here today," Guillen said. "I feel comfortable at home plate. I've been struggling a little bit and was able to find my stroke back. Hopefully, it will stay for a good period of time."The Royals are 6-2 since Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman as manager, who was fired May 13. Kansas City has won three straight for the first time since Sept. 20-22."This is a different kind of motivation in this clubhouse," Guillen said. "Things have been going well. I see a lot of energy. It's been different. I like the way things are going here."After being hit by a pitch in the second, Guillen homered with two outs in the fourth with Billy Butler aboard.Guillen led off the seventh with his 11th home run, which is two more than he hit last season, for his 1,500th career hit. It was Guillen's 14th multihomer game and the second this season. In his past two games, Guillen is 4 for 6 with three home runs and six RBIs."He's a huge key to our offense," Yost said. "He's a veteran hitter that knows how to hit. He's a pure natural hitter. He's got great bat speed. He knows how to work the count. He knows what pitchers are trying to do to him. He's a nice piece in the middle of that lineup because he and Billy are the two guys that can probably consistently give you those quick runs on the board like he did tonight."Bannister (3-3), who has won back-to-back starts, gave up three singles in the second, but allowed only one hit -- Troy Tulowitzki's fourth-inning double -- the next five innings."Bannister did a terrific job," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We had three hits in the second inning and by the time we got to the top of the eighth [inning], we had four. The shortstop [Tulowitzki] had one of the hits and then the other, the double, which were the only hits we got until the eighth inning. By that time, it's 6-to-nothing and the horse is out of the barn."The Royals batted around in the four-run seventh, which also included RBI singles by Jason Kendall, Mike Aviles and David DeJesus.Bannister failed to get out of the eighth, however, giving up a two-run homer to Clint Barmes. He went 7 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season, allowing two runs on seven hits, to lower his ERA to 4.72.Rockies right-hander Jason Hammel, making his second start since coming off the disabled list with a right groin strain, took the loss. Hammel (1-3), who allowed five runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out six, acknowledged his groin bothered him."I expected it to flare up a little bit, but not as much as it was from pitch one," he said. "It tightened up midway through the bullpen warming up, but it was manageable. It got progressively worse as the game went on. It's hard to pitch when you can't put a lot of pressure on your backside and stay behind the ball. I thought I battled pretty well. It's a small victory."The Royals scored three more runs on two singles, a wild pitch, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Aviles led off the fourth with his first walk of the season in his 66th plate appearance. ... Yost said RHP Robinson Tejeda is available to pitch again. He has not pitched since May 13 because of a strained left calf. ... Jason Giambi, a career .321 hitter with 30 home runs at Kauffman Stadium, was the Rockies' designated hitter. It was his ninth start, with the first eight at first base.