Royals swing past Rockies
Teahen's three-run blast in first sets tone in series opener
KANSAS CITY -- It's become a National phenomenon.
The Royals knocked off the Colorado Rockies, 8-4, on Monday night to continue their relentless assault on National League clubs. The victory gave the Royals the best Interleague record in the Major Leagues, 10-3.
The Rockies, pretty good previously against the American League, slipped to 7-3.
"It's been a good run. I don't know if it's the element of surprise -- that they just don't know us that well -- but, at the same time, we don't know them that well," winning pitcher Brian Bannister said.
Bannister shrugged off an uncharacteristic six walks and worked seven innings for his team-best seventh victory. There was clicking aplenty from the hitters, too.
Mark Teahen had a three-run homer and Mike Aviles an RBI double in the Royals' four-run first inning. Jose Guillen pounded a home run and a double for two RBIs. Miguel Olivo cracked a run-scoring double, ending a 0-for-21 slide.
All that damage was inflicted on Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis. Teahen belted his eighth homer over the left-field wall.
"It was just a fastball away," Teahen said. "I'm trying to be aggressive with guys on base and he was just trying to get ahead of me and I got the barrel to it. It was definitely a nice way to start the game."
Guillen's homer was his 13th and his RBI total jumped to an even 60.
"I don't know what I hit. I was just looking for something to hit and, you know, I think I've been lucky," Guillen said.
Yeah, so lucky that his June has included 23 RBIs, 36 hits and 16 runs scored.
"He's just been spectacular," manager Trey Hillman said. "He keeps squaring balls up and driving runs in and that's what we need him to do."
Ross Gload added the Royals' last run with his first homer in the eighth. He had gone 225 at-bats without a blast.
Bannister had one of his oddest games, pitching a no-hitter into the fifth inning. However, after not giving up a base on balls in his previous two starts, he had walked six Rockies.
"I like walks about as much as I like high gas prices," Bannister said.
Yet he walked the bases loaded in the second inning but escaped when Clint Barmes bounced back to the mound. Bannister threw home to start a 1-2-3 double play that ended the inning.
Then Bannister began the fifth inning with walk No. 6 and left fielder Esteban German missed Barmes' line drive for an error. Now came major help from third baseman Alex Gordon.
Gordon snagged Willy Taveras' bouncer, alertly tagged Chris Iannetta leading off third base and threw to first base for a very unusual double play.
"It was funny because Jerry Crawford, the home-plate umpire, came out right after that and I asked him, 'Jerry, have you ever seen a double play like that before?'" Bannister said.
"And he said, 'You know what? I haven't seen that one and I haven't seen the one like last week where the third baseman threw home and they threw back to third to get the double play.' So that was a funny little laugh, broke the ice between us and the game went pretty smoothly after that."
Well, maybe not right away because before the inning was over Jeff Baker slapped a RBI single and Matt Holliday smashed a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-3. All three runs were unearned.
The Royals immediately snapped back with two runs, easing anxiety all around.
"I give a lot of credit to the offense. They push the envelope because they don't get a couple and quit," Bannister said.
Horacio Ramirez, in his Royals debut, pitched the eighth and gave up one run. Ramon Ramirez worked a scoreless ninth to wrap it another win over the National League.
"I guess we'll have to play in the National League to be a better team," Guillen said.
Well, at least the Royals have five games left against the NL -- two with the Rockies and three with the Cardinals.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.