Guillen leads KC to 4-3 victory

Published 9:07 am Monday, April 26, 2010

Brian Bannister loves to look at stats, every aspect of his motion and needs to know precisely why something does or doesn’t work.

So when the Minnesota Twins started jumping on a certain pitch, Bannister put his analytical mind together with Royals catcher Jason Kendall to see if they could figure out how to get Minnesota’s lineup of bashers to back off.

They did and it kept Kansas City from being swept.

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Changing to more sinkers and changeups, Bannister worked through a day of trouble to help Kansas City avoid a three-game sweep with a 4-3 win over the Twins on Sunday.

“They kind of ambushed my cutter in the second inning and I didn’t really like that, so Jason and I talked about it and we really changed up how we pitched,” Bannister said after his first home win since July 5, 2009, against the White Sox. “It seemed to be effective the rest of the game.”

Bannister (1-1) scattered nine hits over 6 1-3 innings and Jose Guillen provided the support with his seventh homer and two RBIs. The Royals made the most of their nine hits after turning an 18-hit night into a loss the day before, taking advantage of Kevin Slowey’s less-than-stellar outing.

And, get this: the beleaguered bullpen held.

OK, so there were some shaky moments. Josh Rupe bounced pitches until the bases were loaded in the eighth inning and Joakim Soria gave up a run in the ninth, spreading an inevitable feeling of dread across Kauffman Stadium.

But after Soria gave up a run-scoring double to Justin Morneau, he struck out Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome for his fifth save this season and 94th career, passing Aurelio Lopez for most by a Mexican-born pitcher.

“It means a lot,” Soria said. “I’m proud to be Mexican and to have the most saves for a Mexican is good for me.”