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Royals snap seven-game skid behind Bannister's strong outing

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brian Bannister gave the Kansas City Royals a remedy for a seven-game losing streak.

The 26-year-old right-hander allowed two hits over eight innings, and the Royals got some timely hitting from Tony Pena, Esteban German and Emil Brown to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-1 on Friday night.

"He did what we needed, desperately. He threw strikes, and really wasn't in trouble the whole game," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said of Bannister (1-3), who won for the first time since the Royals obtained him in an offseason trade.

The son of former major league pitcher Floyd Bannister allowed a fourth-inning single to Akinori Iwamura and Greg Norton's leadoff homer in the fifth before retiring the last 12 batters he faced to get his third career win.

The Royals, outscored 54-13 during their losing streak, converted a leadoff triple, a wild pitch and three singles into three runs in the second.

"We got those runs early and I was just trying to keep us in the game for as long as I could," Bannister said.

"We were really just sticking with my fastball. I gave up the home run on a changeup, and I only threw three of them tonight."

Scott Kazmir (3-3) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings, and has not won at home since pitching a two-hit shutout against Boston last July 3.

The left-hander settled after the second to keep the Devil Rays close, however he wasn't as sharp as he was in an 11-5 victory at Chicago last weekend.

"We really just didn't come out to play," Kazmir said. "Not to take anything away from Bannister. He pitched great, but we're better than that. I think tomorrow we need to come out and really show it."

Bannister, who was 2-1 with the New York Mets last season, struck out a career-high six and walked none in the longest outing of his career. Octavio Dotel walked the first two batters in the ninth, then retired the next three for his first save in two years.

"I was telling the guys earlier, 'I'm back!'" said Dotel, who sat out most of the past two seasons with Oakland and the New York Yankees because of injuries. "I finally got my first save, and it's really something that makes me happy."

Kazmir walked one and struck out seven. But high pitch counts have been a problem all season, and the left-hander labored through a 33-pitch inning in giving up three runs in the second.

A wild pitch allowed Mike Sweeney to score after the Royals' designated hitter stopped an 0-for-15 slide with a triple, then Pena and German delivered RBI singles to build Kansas City's lead to 3-0.

Kazmir threw 105 pitches before being replaced by Brian Stokes, who gave up a single to Mark Teahen before Brown's RBI double made it 4-1 in the eighth.

"He had the one bad inning, then turned it around," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Kazmir.

"The pitch count got up there. Feels like it's been like that all season," Kazmir added. "It's very frustrating."

Notes

Dotel earned his first save since May 16, 2005, when he was with the Athletics. ... The Royals snapped a seven-game losing streak at Tropicana Field. ... Devil Rays LHP Casey Fossum was moved to the bullpen, creating a second opening in the starting rotation. RHP Jae Seo lost his spot last week and was designated for assignment after Friday night's game. The club promoted LHP J.P. Howell and RHP Andy Sonnanstine from Triple-A Durham to fill the openings. Meanwhile, reliever Jae Kuk Ryu was optioned to Durham to be a starter. ... Sweeney's triple was his first in four seasons and fifth in 1,254 career games. ... Bannister's previous career high for strikeouts was four, which he did six times.

 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Bannister
IP 8.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 0
K 6
Tampa Bay

G. Norton
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Kansas City Royals
Esteban German, LF4011000 .274
    David DeJesus, CF1000010 .257
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5010012 .268
Mark Teahen, CF-RF4110011 .285
Mike Sweeney, DH4120002 .242
Emil Brown, RF-LF3121101 .211
Ryan Shealy, 1B4010032 .231
Alex Gordon, 3B3000122 .181
Tony Pena, SS4111023 .265
Jason LaRue, C4010010 .123
Totals364103211  
Batting
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (15, Kazmir), Emil Brown (5, Stokes)
3B - Mike Sweeney (1, Kazmir)
RBI - Esteban German (13), Emil Brown (16), Tony Pena (13)
2-OUT RBI - Esteban German (4), Tony Pena (6)
SB - Emil Brown (6, 3rd base off Kazmir/Riggans)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Pena-Grudzielanek-Shealy
E - Ryan Shealy (1, Dropped fly)
Kansas City Royals
Brian Bannister (W,1-3) 8211061 3.89
Octavio Dotel (S,1) 1000210 4.15
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Bannister 107-70, Octavio Dotel 17-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Bannister 7-10
Batters Faced - Brian Bannister 25, Octavio Dotel 5
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Elijah Dukes, CF4000001 .217
B.J. Upton, 2B4000022 .318
Carl Crawford, LF4000012 .296
Greg Norton, DH3111010 .200
Carlos Pena, 1B3000010 .293
Delmon Young, RF3000010 .249
Akinori Iwamura, 3B3010000 .362
Shawn Riggans, C2000001 .100
   a- Dioner Navarro, PH0000100 .188
Brendan Harris, SS2000111 .305
Totals2812127  
a-walked for Riggans in the 9th
Batting
HR - Greg Norton (1, Bannister)
RBI - Greg Norton (2)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Delmon Young 1
E - Shawn Riggans (2, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Scott Kazmir (L,3-3) 7833170 3.95
Brian Stokes 0.1211000 6.94
Shawn Camp 0.2000120 5.14
Casey Fossum 1000020 7.74
IBB - Gordon by Shawn Camp
WP - Scott Kazmir (3), Brian Stokes (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 105-71, Brian Stokes 19-15, Shawn Camp 14-7, Casey Fossum 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 7-6, Brian Stokes 1-0, Casey Fossum 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 29, Brian Stokes 3, Shawn Camp 3, Casey Fossum 3
Game Information
Attendance - 12032
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Ed Rapuano