KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals manager Ned Yost had a pretty good feeling Sunday when he realized that Brian Bannister was pitching a day game against the Detroit Tigers.
"Historically, he pitches very well in day games. He's done very well against the Tigers. He's won every game since I've been here, knock on wood," Yost said.No need to worry about bad omens.Bannister won his fifth straight start, behind a three-run homer from Jose Guillen, as Kansas City breezed to a 7-2 victory over the Tigers."He never throws anything straight," Yost said of his pitcher. "His fastball cuts one way, his changeup cuts the other. So it's very difficult to get a read on as a hitter."Bannister (6-3) improved to 20-8 in day games during his career, and he's 5-2 with a 2.16 ERA in nine starts against the Tigers. He also ended his streak of allowing a home run at nine consecutive games, which was the longest active streak in the majors.Bannister held Detroit to five hits and one walk while striking out five in 7 1/3 innings."I still would like for Zack [Greinke] and [Luke] Hochevar to get some run support. They don't need to waste it all on me," Bannister said. "Zack and Hoch have outpitched me this year. They deserve more. I'm still trying to catch up."Perhaps a few more day games and he'll be able to do just that."It's turned into a positive for me because everybody else is aware of it too," he said of the matinees. "It's taken on a life of its own. I don't know how to explain it."Guillen hit his 13th home run with two outs in the first inning off the Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman. Yuniesky Betancourt added an RBI double in the second, and Jason Kendall's run-scoring single made it 5-0. Kendall hit .385 with six RBIs on the seven-game homestand."Jose got it started right away," Bannister said. "Bonderman's ball is coming in on him, down and away. He got his pitch and didn't miss it. That was a big blow right away."Bonderman (2-4) was roughed up for seven runs on a season-high 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, after entering the game with a 1.80 ERA in his last six outings.Betancourt's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the sixth scored Alberto Callaspo, while Willie Bloomquist's run-producing single finished Bonderman.Johnny Damon led off the Tigers' fourth with a single, the first hit off Bannister, stole second and scored on Magglio Ordonez's single."Bannister's fastball has a lot more life on it than the radar gun shows," Damon said. "We were late on a lot of his pitchers and he was able to spot his cutter in and out. He got me with a sinker on the first strikeout and then with a curve the second time, and he doesn't throw me that many curves. This year, against us, he's learned to pitch more effectively."The Tigers got another run off Bannister in the eighth, when Don Kelly led off with a double, went to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch, but that was it."We didn't do much offensively and Bonderman didn't have a good day," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He was fighting himself. Bannister is always effective against us. And it's not just us. Evidently he's been doing pretty good against everybody else, too."
The Tigers designated SS Adam Everett for assignment after the game and recalled INF Danny Worth from Triple-A Toledo. ... C Alex Avila, who had two hits Saturday, started again for Detroit while C Gerald Laird sat on the bench. Laird is batting .154. "I'm going to play Alex more," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I want to emphasize I'm not forgetting about Gerald Laird. He's going to play. It's just a matter I'm going to try Alex a little bit more for awhile and see if we can get a little more thunder down at the bottom." ... The Royals finished their homestand 3-4. They are 12-19 this season at Kauffman Stadium.