KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Royals starter Brian Bannister looked up, saw the ball sailing toward the left-field seats at Kauffman Stadium and could only muster one thought:
It was the top of the second inning, still early in the Royals' 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday; but Alex Rios' blast before an announced crowd of 13,922 not only wrecked Bannister's goal of making it through a start without surrendering a homer, it also gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead that eventually became 2-0 by the time the inning was over.
"I was mad," said Bannister, who has made a concerted effort to get more ground balls but has allowed home runs in seven of his first eight starts. "But I also smiled to myself and said 'no more.'"
Bannister (2-3) rebounded to allow only three White Sox to reach base over the next four innings, thanks to that renewed focus and some sterling defense. Those two things, plus a big day from Jose Guillen and a few lucky breaks, were enough to aid a comeback that gave the Royals their second series victory of the season and first under new manager Ned Yost.
"As a veteran, I see a different motivation around here," Guillen said. "Hopefully, our new boss will put this thing together, (help us) play as a team and do all the stuff we need to do to win.
"It's not only about pitching and hitting," Guillen continued. "You've got to play smart and know what your job is. That's been missing for the three years that I've been here (-) this has not been a very fundamental team."
Guillen is right about that, but on Sunday, it was the Royals' turn to watch another team self-destruct (-) if only for an inning.
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (1-4) took a 2-0 lead into the fourth, but Mike Aviles led off the inning with soft fly to left-center that somehow dropped between Rios, left fielder Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez. The blunder was followed by a single by David DeJesus and an RBI single by Billy Butler. Guillen later tied it with an RBI single of his own.
"We all wanted to get out to a good start (under Yost)," Bannister said. "We wanted to rally a little bit."