CHICAGO | No fireworks. Nobody hit by a pitch. No scrum on the field. None of that.
The first get-together Tuesday by the Royals and White Sox since their on-field squabble nine days earlier produced pretty tame stuff for the most part.
Another frustrating night for Brian Bannister. Some blooper-reel shenanigans from the Royals on defense. And a 9-0 loss at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox hit three homers in extending Bannister’s winless streak to eight starts.
This was one of his better outings, actually.
Bannister worked seventh innings for just the first time since June 23. He retired 13 straight batters at one point and allowed only four hits while striking out six and walking two.
Two big problems, though.
•Three of those four hits left the park.
•The Royals had no answer for White Sox starter Javier Vazquez, who spiced eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts.
Bannister, 7-10, gave up four runs in his seven innings. Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer in the first inning; Nick Swisher and A.J. Pierzynski hit solo jobs in the fifth and sixth.
That was plenty for Vazquez, who improved to 9-10 by winning for just the second time in his last nine starts. The other victory also came against the Royals — on Aug. 1 at Kauffman Stadium.
Vazquez threw 109 pitches in eight innings, which is why Adam Russell pitched the ninth. A one-two-three ninth.
The game didn’t get out of hand until the Chicago eighth, when the Royals provided newcomer Josh Newman with a taste of their own brand of defensive vaudeville. The result was five runs that turned the game into a rout.
Newman wasn’t sharp, certainly. Juan Uribe opened the inning with a leadoff double into the left-center gap. Newman gave up four more hits, too. But most came after the Royals displayed their continuing inability to catch pop-ups.
Pierzynski’s bloop to short center fell between a cluster of shortstop Mike Aviles, second baseman Jason Smith and center fielder David DeJesus. José Guillen also dropped a fly at the left-field wall that resulted in a two-base error and led to three unearned runs.
The loss dropped the Royals into last place in the American League Central Division, one-half game behind Cleveland, which won its fifth straight game by beating Baltimore 7-5.
That was just add-on stuff, though.
The three homers boosted Bannister’s season total to 19, which matches Zack Greinke for the club lead. Those 19 homers have come in 139 1/3 innings. By comparison, he allowed just 15 last season in 165 innings.
Bannister put himself in a quick hole. He gave up a leadoff single to Orlando Cabrera in the first inning on an 0-2 curveball. One out later, Dye sent a first-pitch fastball soaring over the center-field wall for a 2-0 lead.
Dye’s homer was his 28th of the season. It was also Dye’s 12th career homer in 80 games against his former club.
The Royals got a two-out triple in the second from Alex Gordon and a two-out double in the third from Mike Aviles. They failed to capitalize on either opportunity.
Bannister found a groove after Dye’s homer and retired the next 13 hitters before Swisher broke the string with a two-out homer in the fifth. It was a boomer on a 3-2 fastball that traveled 426 feet over the right-field wall.
The White Sox extended their lead to 4-0 on Pierzynski’s out-out homer in the sixth, a slicing drive to left on a 1-0 changeup.
The Royals didn’t get their third hit against Vazquez until Guillen led off the seventh with a single. Ross Gload delivered a two-out single, but Vazquez stranded both runners by retiring John Buck on a squibber back to the mound.
The less said about Chicago’s five-run eighth, the better.