Miami (33-36) at Kansas City (27-42)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 2:10 pm EDT Sun Jun 17, 2007
  • TV: SUN, KMCI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After overcoming a slow start and a brief return to the minors, Brian Bannister has become one of the Kansas City Royals best pitchers in the last month.

Bannister (3-3, 2.91 ERA) looks to win his fourth straight start on Sunday when the Royals close out a three-game series against the Florida Marlins.

Bannister, who was 0-3 with a 4.54 ERA in his first six starts, has not allowed an earned run in his last two outings for the Royals (27-42), and he has given up just one earned run over the last 22 innings over three starts.

“He’s been unbelievable the last couple of starts,” teammate Alex Gordon said. “The last three starts, he’s been unbelievable.”

The right-hander, who did not begin the season on the team’s roster, pitched seven scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, allowing seven hits while striking out six in an 8-1 win.

“I used to throw a lot of cut fastballs and now I’m a four-pitch pitcher,” said Bannister, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on May 13 after being sent down three days prior. “And the changeup has really come along this year. That stint in Triple-A really did help. I’m kind of a new pitcher, and the progress is coming through.”

Bannister is making his first start against the Marlins (33-26) as he looks to lead the Royals to their third straight series win with a victory on Sunday.

Kansas City took two of three against the Cardinals and two of three against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Royals and Florida have split the first two games of this current series, with Kansas City winning 6-2 on Friday and Florida posting a 9-8 victory Saturday.

John Buck homered twice, and Esteban German’s ninth-inning RBI single brought the Royals within one, but German was thrown out on a double play and Mike Sweeney flied out to end the game.

Miguel Cabrera drove in four runs, while Miguel Olivo went 5-for-5 with two doubles and three singles for the Marlins, who pounded out 17 hits. Olivo also went 3-for-4 on Friday, but Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’ll likely give Olivo the day off on Sunday.

The win was just the second in the last seven games for the Marlins, who had their highest offensive output since a 14-8 victory over Tampa Bay on June 8. Florida’s offense had been held to four or fewer runs over each of its last six games.

“We won the game. And that’s the most important thing,” said Cabrera, whose two homers gave him a team-high 16.

Florida will close the series sending Scott Olsen (5-5, 4.81) to the mound.

Olsen pitched seven scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, allowing three hits while striking out six in the 3-0 win, the left-hander’s first win in four starts.

“He pitched like a 15-year veteran,” Gonzalez said. “His composure, everything was outstanding.”

Olsen has never faced the Royals.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Olsen CWS vs. B. Bannister KC
10-15 Record 12-9
5.81 ERA 3.87
133 K 77
85 BB 44
1.76 WHIP 1.21

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 17