|Kansas City (56-70) «||2||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||0||7||10||0|
|Chi. White Sox (56-70)||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||6||9||1|
Billy Butler homered and drove in three runs to back Bannister's strong outing, and Kansas City held off the Chicago White Sox 7-6 on Wednesday. The clubs are tied at the bottom of the five-team AL Central at 56-70.
"I think fourth just sounds better than last," Bannister said. "Because when you're in last, you don't really know what place you're in. At least with fourth, you know there are three teams ahead of you."
Kansas City ended a three-game skid and kept the White Sox from completing their first series sweep at home since Aug. 11-13, 2006, against Detroit.
Bannister (10-7) won for the fifth time in seven starts and lowered his ERA to 3.28, seventh-best in the American League. After giving up two runs, three hits and a walk in the first inning, the right-hander retired 18 of 21 batters. He is the first Royals rookie to win 10 games since Rusty Meachum in 1992.
"He pitched great," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. "After the first inning he was locked in. He had great tempo. Typical game."
Coming off his first complete game, Bannister left with two outs in the seventh before Jimmy Gobble got out of the inning.
"The biggest thing in this game is being able to make adjustments," Bannister said. "I came in after the first and watched myself on tape. I made some mechanical adjustments. My front shoulder was flying open a little bit. That was causing me to land on my heel a little bit. I went through it a couple times and made the necessary adjustments."
"You never know when you have enough runs," said Butler, the AL rookie of the month in July. "I'm just glad I could help the team win today. I had some tough at-bats. I'm just glad I could do something positive."
Konerko hit his 25th home run in the eighth off Gobble to make it 7-3.
The Royals struck early against struggling Jose Contreras, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. The White Sox starter hit Mark Grudzielanek with a pitch in the first and gave up a single to David DeJesus before a sacrifice fly by Butler and a run-scoring single from Ross Gload made it 2-0.
The White Sox tied it in the bottom half on RBI singles by Darin Erstad and Jermaine Dye, but Contreras (6-16) fell apart again with two outs in the second. He walked No. 9 hitter Jason LaRue and gave up three consecutive singles to Joey Gathright, Grudzielanek and DeJesus to make it 4-2.
"I think his biggest problem was location," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "After the second inning he settled down a little bit. When I went to the mound I said, 'I don't care how many innings you're going to throw, I want you to be aggressive. Give me the best fastballs and the best of what you have for today's game."'
Contreras, sent to the bullpen for two appearances earlier this month, has lost nine consecutive starts. In danger of losing 20 games, he said he hasn't thought at all about ending his season early.
"I feel good and my arm feels great," Contreras said through a translator. "I'm healthy."
Guillen said he will continue to send out Contreras for the remainder of the season.
"I know how this kid feels," Guillen said. "He played for pride his whole career. Now he's getting paid. Obviously he's going to feel embarrassed and that he's let people down."
Contreras rebounded to throw four scoreless innings before giving way to Mike Myers in the seventh. In his second appearance for Chicago in two days since being acquired from the Yankees on Monday, Myers recorded two quick outs before DeJesus reached on a bunt single. Myers then gave up Butler's fifth homer to make it 6-2.
|Let's swipe two: Joey Gathright steals third for his second stolen base of the fourth inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|Joey Gathright, LF||5||1||1||0||0||1||2||.358|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.303|
|David DeJesus, CF||5||2||3||1||0||0||0||.274|
|Billy Butler, DH||4||1||1||3||0||0||2||.298|
|Ross Gload, 1B||4||0||1||1||0||1||0||.301|
|Emil Brown, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||.235|
|Alex Gordon, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.246|
|Jason Smith, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.202|
|Tony Pena, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.264|
|Jason LaRue, C||2||1||0||0||1||0||2||.145|
|2B - Alex Gordon (27, Contreras)|
|HR - Billy Butler (5, Myers)|
|SF - Billy Butler (2)|
|RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (41), David DeJesus (50), Billy Butler 3 (40), Ross Gload (41)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (16), David DeJesus (22), Billy Butler 2 (10), Ross Gload (18)|
|SB - Joey Gathright 2 (9, 2nd base off Contreras/Hall, 3rd base off Contreras/Hall), David DeJesus (7, 2nd base off Contreras/Hall), Alex Gordon (13, 2nd base off Floyd/Hall)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Brian Bannister (W,10-7)||6.2||5||2||2||2||3||0||3.28|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brian Bannister 101-64, Jimmy Gobble 23-13, Joakim Soria 36-21|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Bannister 5-12, Jimmy Gobble 1-0, Joakim Soria 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Brian Bannister 27, Jimmy Gobble 5, Joakim Soria 8|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Jerry Owens, CF||3||1||0||0||2||1||0||.246|
|Josh Fields, 3B||4||1||1||3||1||2||2||.245|
|Jim Thome, DH||5||1||2||0||0||2||1||.265|
|Scott Podsednik, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.257|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||4||2||1||1||1||1||1||.270|
|Darin Erstad, LF||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.272|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.245|
|Juan Uribe, SS||4||1||2||0||0||0||3||.225|
|Danny Richar, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.186|
|Toby Hall, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.224|
|2B - Jim Thome (16, Bannister), Juan Uribe (11, Soria)|
|HR - Josh Fields (15, Soria), Paul Konerko (25, Gobble)|
|RBI - Josh Fields 3 (46), Paul Konerko (69), Darin Erstad (27), Jermaine Dye (63)|
|2-OUT RBI - Josh Fields 3 (11), Darin Erstad (15), Jermaine Dye (31)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|E - Toby Hall (3, Throwing)|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Jose Contreras (L,6-16)||6||6||4||4||1||3||0||6.18|
|HBP - Grudzielanek (by Jose Contreras), LaRue (by Jose Contreras)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jose Contreras 104-68, Mike Myers 18-12, Gavin Floyd 35-24|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Contreras 6-9, Mike Myers 2-0, Gavin Floyd 2-3|
|Batters Faced - Jose Contreras 27, Mike Myers 5, Gavin Floyd 8|
|Attendance - 31739|
|Game Time - 3:11|
|Temperature - 86|
|Umpires - Home - Adam Dowdy, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Tim Timmons|