Bannister pitches Royals past Blue Jays
Even though he doesn't throw one, Brian Bannister felt like a knuckleballer on a rainy Monday night.
The right-hander gave up one hit over seven innings and Jose Guillen hit two homers to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 7-1 victory over Toronto.
The Blue Jays entered the game leading the majors in runs, batting average and slugging percentage, but Bannister limited them to Adam Lind's first-inning single.
"The ball was slipping out of my hand the whole night," Bannister said. "I really struggled getting a consistent release with it. At the same time, it was putting a real crazy spin on the ball. I throw my fastball without seams and it was literally slipping the whole night. The closest thing I can compare it to is the way a knuckleball pitcher throws. You don't walk six and have an outing like that, but the ball was just moving all over the place all night. I just stuck with it and battled through it.
"That's not how I like to pitch. It was weird conditions, it was misting out there the whole night. So my hand was wet and he ball just sits there and gets wet."
Bannister walked six, including five of the first 14 batters he faced.
"That's not the way you draw it up," he said. "I just dealt with it. I hate putting fans through that, watching me throw balls. The way the ball was going in the zone, I didn't know if it was going to cut or back up or what it was going to do because it was slipping quite often. The approach was to get in the zone and see what happens. The way they were taking swings, I could tell they were just as frustrated as I was."
Bannister (2-0) has allowed one run and five hits in 13 innings in winning his two starts since being recalled April 22 from Triple-A Omaha. He retired 13 of the last 14 hitters he faced.
After walking the bases loaded in the third, Bannister retired Scott Rolen on a first-pitch groundout.
"With Scott, I made a pitch when I had to and had the quick late movement that I was looking for and got the ground ball," Bannister said. "That was a big point in the game."
Guillen, who came off the disabled list Saturday, had his 12th multihomer game. He homered in the first with Willie Bloomquist aboard, and led off the fifth with his second of the season.
Miugel Olivo, who struck out in all three of his at-bats Sunday, homered to right-center off Blue Jays left-hander David Purcey in the fourth after Alberto Callaspo and Mike Aviles had singled.
"My hitting coach (Kevin Seitzer) has been helping me think about hitting the ball to right field and today we worked on that in the batting cage," Olivo said.
Said manager Trey Hillman, "It's always nice when the ball gets out of this ball park on cool nights. ... It is pretty impressive for Jose, the lack of consistent at-bats he's had while on the disabled list, being able to get the timing back."
Lind's two-out single to right in the first scored Marco Scutaro, who led off with a walk.
"Bannister was working his cutter on both sides of the plate," Lind said. "He was keeping it on the corners."
Purcey (0-2) was pulled after five innings, allowing six runs and eight hits, three of them homers, and three walks. Purcey, whose ERA jumped to 7.01, has not pitched beyond 5 1-3 innings in his past four starts.
"The homers came on two sliders up and a changeup," he said. "Early, I was a little inconsistent."
Bloomquist's sacrifice fly in the sixth scored the final run.
Rolen singled in the ninth off Kyle Farnsworth, the third Kansas City pitcher, for the only other Toronto hit.
Callaspo singled twice to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He is 16 for 34 in that span. ... Blue Jays 2B Aaron Hill went 0 for 4, snapping his hitting streak at 11 games. ... LF David DeJesus, who is in a 1-for-17 skid, and DH-1B Mike Jacobs, who is hitless in his past 14 at-bats, were held out of Kansas City's lineup. ... The Blue Jays went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.