Brian Bannister allowed two singles in eight innings and the Royals beat Baltimore 4-0 Sunday to end their skid against the Orioles.
It was Kansas City’s first victory over Baltimore since July 25, 2006.
“Regardless if you were here all 12 of those losses, I think we needed to take it on ourselves to end this thing,” Bannister said. “As a starting pitcher, a shutout is the best medicine to end a losing streak. To beat this streak and to beat my own personal losing streak, there were a lot of factors going into it, so I was pretty motivated to pitch a great game.”
Bannister struck out five and walked two to end a personal four-game losing streak. He did not allow a runner to reach second. Joakim Soria tossed a perfect ninth to finish Kansas City’s fourth shutout of the year.
The mounting losses to the Orioles had begun to wear on the Royals.
“I hurt as badly losing that many games in a row to the Baltimore Orioles as if I had been here for all of them,” Royals rookie manager Trey Hillman said. “I want to turn the pride factor up for this organization as high it can possibly be turned up. It’s irrelevant that it wasn’t exactly the same group of guys, or the same staff or the same manager. Losing that many games in a row to anybody is embarrassing.”
Bannister, who won his first three starts of the season, was 0-4 with an 8.02 ERA and had allowed 33 hits in 21 1-3 innings over his previous four starts.
“I had a hot streak and I had a cold streak,” Bannister said. “The benefit of having a cold streak, if there is one, is you can step back, work on some stuff, look at how you were throwing when you did well, regroup and build up your confidence again. I made some changes and sometimes that’s all it takes for you to go out there and pitch well.
“My last couple of games my confidence was a little low. I pitched around contact a little bit and that leads to the big swings. I was able to get ahead and make pitches on my terms today.”
He held the Orioles to one hit—a Guillermo Quiroz line drive single to right in the third—in the first six innings and quickly erased him when Luis Hernandez grounded into a double play. The only other hit Bannister (4-4) allowed was a two-out Luke Scott single in the seventh.
“Bannister had everything today—curveballs, cutters, sliders, fastball,” Quiroz said. “He was locating everything.”
Brian Burres (3-4) allowed four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings for the Orioles.
“Burres was walking a tightrope,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “Late in the game he walked the No. 9 guy (Joey Gathright). That’s a no-no, but he kept us in the game. We just didn’t get anything off Bannister. He pitched a better game.”
Burres, who has lost three consecutive starts, left after walking Gathright and allowing David DeJesus’ single with no outs in the seventh. Gathright eventually scored when Gordon grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Billy Butler singled in DeJesus.
“I didn’t have good command of my off-speed pitches, so I was working mostly with my fastball,” Burres said. “It was the only thing I could throw for strikes and its hard to pitch like that the whole game. The seventh kind of got away from me. I made it tough on myself by twice walking leadoff batters.”
Gathright took an extra-base hit away from Adam Jones when he made a leaping catch before crashing into the center-field fence in the second. ^Notes: Orioles RF Nick Markakis walked twice and has reached base in 35 of 37 games. … Guillen went 5-for-11 in the series against the Orioles, raising his average from .185 to .207. … The previous two-hitter by the Royals was RHP Zack Greinke and Soria combining on a 3-0 shutout of the White Sox on Sept. 20, 2007.