05/11/08 8:32 PM ET
Bannister brilliant in Royals' win
Right-hander celebrates Mother's Day with two-hit gem
By Max Utsler / Special to MLB.com
Yes, pink was the color of the day. The first 10,000 fans received a pink Royals T-shirt to commemorate Mother's Day and the fight against breast cancer. Eight of the nine Royals starters hit with specially-made pink bats, and hit they did, with six hits in the first three innings and 11 for the game.
But pink wasn't such a pretty color for the Orioles' bats. Bannister limited them to two harmless singles over eight scoreless innings, and allowed four other baserunners -- two of whom reached on errors. Whatever had been his problem with his past two starts wasn't a problem today.
"It wasn't anything too major, but it was causing me to throw around myself a little bit and leave my secondary pitches up," Bannister said. "But it got better today, and I was closer to my old self."
Manager Trey Hillman said Bannister had command of several pitches on both sides of the plate and mostly pitched ahead in the count. He left after 108 pitches.
"Banny probably would have loved to have a complete-game shutout, but he was honest with us and told us his legs were starting to go a little bit," he said.
So Hillman turned the game over to Joakim Soria for a 1-2-3 ninth. Soria still has not given up a run this season.
Bannister paid compliments to his defense, particularly Joey Gathright for making what he called an "Aaron Rowand" crash-into-the-wall catch of Adam Jones' line drive in the gap in the second inning.
"It was fun pitching out there on Mother's Day," he said. "You've got the pink bats -- pink everything -- and my wife is going to be a mother for the first time. It was special for me."
So the Royals head into an off-day with the losing streak behind them.
"This was exactly what we needed, so it was nice to get that out of the way," Bannister said.
"That was the talk in the lunchroom this morning while we were eating breakfast," Hillman said. "We had to do something positive to finally get that off our shoulders."
Bannister did his part and the pink bats did their part. Now it's back to a more natural wood color when the Tigers come to town on Tuesday.
Max Utsler is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.