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Royals beat Twins 8-1 behind another strong outing for Bannister

MINNEAPOLIS _ Brian Bannister pulled the Royals out of still another skid Sunday afternoon by pitching eight strong innings in an 8-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.

Alex Gordon paced a 16-hit attack with two homers _ the first multi-homer game of his career. The Royals pounded out 27 hits in two games after coming within two out of suffering a no-hitter by Scott Baker in the second game of Friday’s double-header.

Bannister, 12-7 carried a four-hit shutout into the seventh before yielding successive leadoff singles to Mike Redmond and Garrett Jones.

Luis Rodriguez then broke the shutout with a sacrifice fly to left.

Joakim Soria closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.

The victory followed two straight losses and enabled the Royals to salvage a split in the four-game series. It marked the fourth time in his last six starts that Bannister pulled the Royals out of a multiple-game losing streak.

Twins starter Boof Bonser lasted just 1 2/3 innings but allowed five runs and seven hits. He dropped to 6-12 overall and to 1-4 in eight career starts against the Royals.

John Buck and Shane Costa each had three hits. Buck ended a streak of 86 at-bats without a homer by hitting a two-run blast in the ninth inning against reliever Pat Neskek.

Every Royals starter had at least one hit.

Bannister won his fourth straight start and his 12 victories are the most by a Royals pitcher since Paul Byrd win 17 in 2002. Bannister is also 7-1 in his last nine starts with a 2.17 ERA.

This was Bannister’s 14th start following a Royals loss, and he is 8-3 in those games with three no-decisions _ and the Royals won two of those no-decisions.

Gordon jump-started the Royals’ five-run second inning with a leadoff homer, an upper-deck bomb that hopped through one of the right-field vomitories. It was estimated at 427 feet.

Costa, Buck and Joey Gathright followed with successive singles, which produced another run.

Buck and Gathright moved to second and third on Tony Peña’s grounder to second before scoring on David DeJesus’ two-run double into the right-field corner for a 4-0 lead.

Ross Gload’s two-out single made it 5-0 and knocked out Bonser. The crowd of 26,454 didn’t appear to be saying “Boof” as he walked to the dugout.

Reliever Julio DePaula committed a two-base throwing error on a pickoff but stranded Gload at third by retiring Mike Sweeney on a foul fly to left.

Gordon’s second homer, and 14th of the season, opened the third inning against DePaula. It, too, was an upper-deck blast to right, this one estimated at 411 feet.

The Royals missed numerous opportunities to extend their lead by stranding seven runners from the fourth through eighth innings. Buck’s two-run homer in the ninth closed the scoring.

To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, call (816) 234-4352 or send email to bdutton@kcstar.com.

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